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FROM 1769 TO 1883, 






Mrs. Burrilla B. Spencer. 

In Two Volumes. 
Vol. I. 





Copyright 1885, by 





Exploring and settling of Kentucky — Baptists among the early set- 
tlers — Thomas Tinsley and Wm. Hickman preach at Harrods- 
burg— G. S. Smith, John Taylor, and Joseph Redding visit 
■ Kentucky — Wra. Marshall— Joseph Barnett ; Jno. Gerrard ; 
Benj. Lynn; Jas. Skaggs. 


First church in Kentucky, — Severns Valley. Fate of Gerrard. 
Cedar Creek church. Joshua Morris. Gilbert's Creek'church. 
Its origin in Virginia. The Craigs. Lewis Craig. John Wal- 
ler. Persecution. Preaching through prison grates. 


South Fork church. Forks of Dix River church. Randolph Hall. 
John S. Higgins. Burdett Kemper. 


Outlook in 1783. Gilbert's Creek church of Separate Baptists. 
Joseph Bledsoe. South Elkhorn. John Shackleford. Preach- 
ers in jail. Providence church. Robt. Elkin. 


Condition of the settlers, in 1784. Gloomy state of religion. Bear 
Grass church. John AVhitaker. 


The first revival in Kentucky. John Taylor. A pioneer's day's 
work. Susannah Cash. Calling and installing a pastor. Clear 
Creek church. John Taylor's dream followed by a great 


Limestone church. Wm. Wood. Pottinger's Creek church Cox's 
Creek church. Wm. Taylor. Moses Pierson. Isaac Taylor. 
Brashear's Creek church. Rush Branch church. John Bailey. 
Head of Boone's Creek church. Joseph Craig. 




Great Crossing church. Elijah Craig. Joseph Redding. Isaac Red- 
ding. The Johnsons. Tate's Creek church. John Tanner. 


Review. Number of churches and preachers, in 1785. Regular and 
Separate Baptists in Kentucky. The first attempt to unite 
them. The South Elkhorn Convention. Constitution of Elk- 
horn and Salem Associations. 


'•Brighter Prospects. Bryant's Station cliurch. Ambrose Dudley 
■ The Dudleys. Town Fork church. John Gano. Boone's 
Creek church. David Thompson. Tate's Creek church of Se- 
parate Baptists. Andrew Tribble. 


Number of churches and preachers, in 1787. Cowper's Run cnurch. 
A. Eastin. James Garrard. Lick Creek church. James Ro- 
gers. Boone's Creek church of Separate Baptists. Too many 
churches. Marble Creek church. Jno. Price. Ryland T. Dil- 
lard. David's Fork church. Hanging Fork of Dix River. 


Number of churches and preachers in 1788. Forks of Elkhorn 
church. Wm. Hickman. Huston's Creek church. Moses 
Bledsoe. Rolling Fork church. Joshua Carman. Wm. Downs. 
He.nd of Salt River church. Buck Run church. John Dupuy. 
James Dupuy. Stark Dupuy. Shawnee Run church. John 
Rice. James T. Hedger. 


The Revival of 1789. Second attempt to unite the Regulars and 
Separates. Hardin's Creek church. Baldwin Clifton. Smith 
Thomas. Henson Thomas. Ezy Hickerson. Jessamine Creek 
church. The laying on of hands after baptism. Agitation on 
the subject of slavery. Josiah Dodge. John Sutton. Carter 
Tarrant. Donald Holmes. Duncan McLean. Jacob Gregg. 
George Smith. David Barrow. 




The Revival continued. Mayslick church. Wm. Grinstead. Walter 
Warder. Joseph Warder. John Warder. Indian Creek 
church. David Biggs. Unity church. James Quensenberry. 
Jno. M. Johnson. David Chenault. Hickman's Creek church. 
Thomas Ammon. Head of Beech Fork church. Hardin's 
Creek church. Mt. Pleasant. West Fork of Cox's Creek. 
White Oak Run. Baptist Statistics in 1790. 


Retrospect. Cove Spring. Strode's Fork. Reuben Smith. Taylor's 
Fork. Bloomfield. AValter Stallard. Francis Davis. Spencer 
Clack. Henry Thomas. D. S. Colgan. Wm. Vaughan. J. 
M. Weaver. Craborchard. Wm. Bledsoe. Jeremiah Varde- 
man, Moses Foley. Pittman's Creek. Isaac Ilodgen. John. 
Harding. Brush Crtek. Wm. Mathews. Thomas Whitman. 
Johnson Graham. 


Retrospect. The liidians overcome. Chenowith's Run. Silas Gar- 
rett. Z. Carpenter. George LaPage. R. C. Nash. G. W. 
Robertson. R. A. Beauchamp. 


Lulbegrud. John Smith. Thomas Boone. James French. Rich- 
ard French. Grassy Lick. Elijah Barnes. Bracken. James 
Thompson. Gilbert Mason. A. D. Sears. A. W. LaRue. 
Mill Creek. Samuel Carpenter. W. M. Brown. N. C. Beck- 
ham. R. H. Slaughter. Mount Moriah. Colmore Lovelace- 
Mill Creek. Flat Lick. Richard Thomas. Joel Morehead. 
Springfield. The third attempt to unite the Regulars and Sep- 
arates. Tate's Creek Association. 


Religious dearth and its cause. Spencer Creek. James Edmonson. 
Nathan Edmonson. Licking. Jas. Vickers. Elk Creek. Jo- 
siah Harbert. W. Stout. Fox Run. Alan McGuire. S. Van- 
cleave. Wm. and Casandria Ford. W.W.Ford. J. C. Free- 
man. Bullittsburg. Wm. Cave. Geo. Eve. Lewis Deweese. 
James Lee. C. Matthews. Absalom Graves. Jas. Dicken. 
L. Robinson. Jeremiah Kirtley. Robert Kirtley. J. A. 
Kirtley. A. C. Graves. 

iv. Contents. 


Gloomy Outlook. Cartwright's Creek. Owen Owens. Joel Gordon. 
Blue Ash. Elijah Summers. Stamping Ground. JacobCreath, 
Sr. James Suggett. S. Trott. Theo. Boulware. S. M. Noel- 
Tlie Gospel Herald. J. D. Black. Forks of Licking. Alexan- 
der Monroe. Otter Creek. 


The Gloom deepens. Union church. John Hightower. Alex. De- 
vin. Joseph Logan. Z. Morris. Richard Owings. Stone 
Lick. Beech Creek. Warren Cash. M. Scott. John Holland. 
Good Hope. Edward Turner. David Thurman. David El- 
kin. John Chandler. Horatio Chandler. Willis Peck. 
Deep Creek. James Keel. B. F. Keeling. David Bruner. 
Mt. Nebo. Peter Woods. 


A small revival. Goshen Church. Wm. Payne. Edward Kindred. 
Raven's Creek. Bethel. Stark Dupuy. Harrod's Creek. Wm. 
Kellar. Ben. Allen. A. M. Ragsdale. Jas. Kinsolving. W. 
E. Waller. Long Run. Joseph Collins. Joel Hulsey. J. H. 
Sturgeon. John Dale. John Dulaney. AV. E. Powers. Ha- 
zle Creek. Benjamin Talbot. E. P. O'Bannon. Viney Fork. 
Christopher Harris. 


Great political excitement. Alien and Sedition Laws. Lee's Creek. 
Flower Creek. Mt. Sterling. Ridge. Salt River. John Pen- 
ny. W. W. Penny. Edmund Waller. J. H. Walker. Mt. 
Salem. Stephen Collier. H. F. Buckner. Mill Creek. John 
Mulky. Dripping Spring. Robert Stockton. Robert Smith. 
A. McDougal. Mt. Tabor. A. Davidson. Jacob Lock. John 
Murphy. R. Hunt. M. W. Hall. R. T. Gardner. Jas. 
Brooks. Sinking Creek. A. Clayton. Jesse Moon. Sulphur 
Spring. John Howard. Isaac Steele. Muddy River. Lewis 
Moore. L. Page. Philip Warden. O. H. Morrow. Beaver 
Dam. A. Taylor. D. E. Burns. J. S. Coleman. J. M. 


Political features. Bracken Association. Flat Lick. J. M. James. 

D. F. James. Robert McAlister. John James. Somerset. 
Thomas Hansford. Daniel Buckner. Four Mile. Elk Lick. 
Fourteen Mile. Henson Hobbs. Eddy Grove. James Puck- 
er. Blue Spring. Ralph Petty. Thomas Edwards. N. G. 
Terry. Christiansburg. John Metcalf. John Edwards. Jo- 
shua Rucker. A. Cook. T. M. Daniel. Newcastle. Isaac 
Malin. Thos. Vandiver. Thos. Chilton. Thomas Smith. E. 
G. Berry. W. A. Caplinger. R. Ryland. Buck Creek. W. 

E, Waller. T. M. Vaughan. 



Political quiet. Infidelity. Bad morals. Apostasy of preachers. Dry 
Creek. Moses Vickers. Ghent. John Scott. L. D. Alexan- 
der. William Johnson. Corn Creek. P. Vawter. Jesse Vavv- 
ter. John Vawter. Wm. Buckley. Geo. Kendall. Archei 
Smith. Eighteen Mile. J. A. McGuire. D. N. Porter. J. B. 
Porter. J. S. D.iwson. A. E. Shirley. Kings. W. P. Barnett. 
Concord. CorneliusDuese. I. C. Tracy. Seth Bradshaw. Boggs 
Fork. Squire Boone, Jr. Close of tke Century. Statistics. 


Doctrine of the early Baptists in Kentucky. Universalism. Eternal 
justification. Slavery. Early customs. Ruling Elders. Lay- 
ing on of hands. Feet washing. Quarterly meetings. Benev- 
olent enterprises. Education. Effective preachers. Strictness 
in discipline. Paying preachers. Character of early preach- 


Influence of France. Voltair. Tom Paine. Scarcity of Bibles, and 
other religious books. Low state of religion 


Beginning of the great revival among the Presbyterians. The Method- 
ists join with them. Camp-Meetings. The great Cane Ridge 
meeting. Children in the great Revival. The Falling Exercise. 
The Jerks. Rolling. Running. Dancing. Barking. Laugh- 
ing. Visions and Trances. 


Multiplication of sects. New Lights. Springfield Presbytery. "The 
Christian Church." The Shakers. The Cumberland Presby- 
terian Church. The Millennial Church [Shakers.] 


The Great Revival among the Baptists. Statistics in 1803. Effects of 
the revival. Missionaries sent to the Indians. Union of Regu- 
lar and Separate Baptists. Termsof general union. Full union 
of all the Baptists in Kentucky. Arianism in Elkhorn Associa- 
tion. Sp'.it in South District Association. Rupture in Elkhorn. 
Formation of Licking Association. 

vi. Contents. 


Presbyterians in Kentucky. Their early history. They equal the Baptists 
in numbers. Their superior advantages. Their disadvantages. 
Unfitness of their preachers. They demanded fixt salaries. 
Pasquinade on Father Rice. Early history of the Methodists in 
Kentucky. Manner of worship. Their claim to Catholicity. 
Catholics. Episcopalians. Other sects. Baptist statistics in 


Revival of 1810. "The Shakers." The first Baptist periodical in the 
West. Foreign Missions. Judson and Rice go to India. Become 
Baptists. Baptist Board of Foreign Missions-. Kentucky Bap- 
tists all favored Missions, previous to 1816. Origin of opposition 
to Missions. John Taylor's Pamphlet. Daniel Parker. The 
Two-seeds doctrine. Revival in 1817. Choctaw Academy. Sta- 


Outlook in 1820. Alexander Campbell. The Christian Baptist. 
Campbell's opposition to Missions. Attack on the Ministry. 
Opposition to supporting preachers. The spirit of Campbell's 
teaching. Revival of 1827 — 9. Georgetown College. Issachar 
Pawling. W. Staughton. R. Giddings. D. R. Campbell. N. 
M. Crawford. 


Divisions among the Baptists. Licking and Red River Associations. 
Origin of Bethel Association. Progress of Campbellism. Action 
of Beaver Association. A list of Campbell's errors. Frankfort 
Church's letter to FrankUn Association.- Wise precaution of 
Elkhorn. Boones Creek Association advises the abolition of its 
constitution. Action of other Associations. The war of 1829 — 
30. Called session of Franklin Association. Its Circular Letter. 
Final action of several Associations on Campbellism. Statistics 
for 1829, 1830, 1832 and 1835. 

Contents. vii. 


Sad condition of the Baptists, in 1830. Division of sentiment. Ken- 
tucky Baptist State Convention. Its history and dissolution. A 
gloomy period. 


The General Association. Two results follow its organization — a Split 
and a Revival. The Revival of 1837. Protracted Meetings. 
American and Foreign Bible Society. Kentucky and Foreign 
Bible Society. China Mission Society. Statistics for 1840. 


The Antimission Schism. Antimission preaching. China Mission 
Association. Indian Mission Association. Isaac McCoy. Am- 
erican Baptist Home Mission Society. American and Foreign 
Bible Society. Kentucky and Foreign Bible Society. AVestern 
Baptist Theological Institute. Ministerial Education Society. 
The Financial Crash of 1841 — 2. "Under-ground Railroad." 
Alabama Resolutions. Southern Baptist Convention. The 
Revival. Statistics. 


Great prosperity. American Bible Union. John L. Waller. Tem- 
perance Reform. Temperance Societies. Sors of Temperance. 
Good Templars. Legal Prohibition. The license law. Action 
of the General Association. Know Nothingism. Old Land- 
markism. Sunday Schools. Southern S. S. Union. W. S. Sed- 
wick. Revival of 1858. Statistics for 1860. 


Religious prosperity in 1860. Education. Baptist Schools and Col- 
leges. Georgetown Female Seminary. J. E. Farnham. J. J. 
Rucker. Bethel Female College. J. W. Rust. T. G. Keen. 
Bethel College. Samuel Baker. N. Long. E. M. Ewing. P. 
U. Ewing. H. Q. Ewing. B. T. Blewett. George Hunt. W. 
W. Gardner. The Civil War. Revival of 1864. Touching In- 
cident. The colored Baptists. Agricultural and Mechanical 
College. Statistics for 1870. 

viii. Cofitents. 


Condition of the Baptists in 1870. Orphans Home. Mary HoUings- 
worth. .J. Lawrence Smith. Mrs. J. Lawrence Smith. South- 
ern Baptist Theological Seminary. J. P. Boyce. John A. Broad- 
us. B. Manly, Jr. W. H. Whitsitt. Sunday School interest. 
Provision for aged ministers. Centennial Celebration. Prohi- 
bition. Female Missionary Societies. Statistics for 1S80. 


The Baptists have been occupying the soil of Kentucky one 
hundred and ten years, and, with the exception of two brief 
periods, have been much the most numerous denomination of 
Christians in the State ; yet, they alone, of the leading sects, 
have failed to have their history written, until now. The pres- 
ent work is the primal history of the Kentucky Baptists. Some 
fragmentary accounts of churches and associations have been 
printed from time to time, but nothing like a connected history 
of the denomination has been published since Benedict's epitome 
of its early operations was issued from the press at Boston, 
Massachusetts, in 181 3. 

The want of a history of Kentucky Baptists has long been 
felt, and various efforts have been made to secure such a work. 
The first attempt of the kind was made by Silas M. Noel and 
Jeremiah Vardeman, in 181 2, when these distingtiished minis- 
ters proposed to publish A Comprcliensive History of the Bap- 
tists of Vii-ginia and Kentucky. The churches and associations 
were appealed to for aid in collecting materials for the work, and 
generally responded favorably. What progress was made, or 
whether the writing was actually commenced, is not known ; 
but it is certain that the proposed work was never published. 
The next attempt of the kind was made in 18 18, by one M. 
Smith, who proposed to publish A Histoiy of the Baptists in 
the Western Country. This enterprise was nipped in the bud by 
some of the associations, which resolved that they disapproved 
of the pretentions of M. Smith, believing him to be "unqualified 
for such service." 

After this, no effort appears to have been made in this 
direction, till i84i, when John L. Waller, while acting as agent 
of the General Association, commenced gathering historical 
facts concerning the churches. He continued this work, inci- 
dentally, till about I853, when he resolved to write A History 
of the Baptists in Kentucky. It was, at first, supposed that the 
work was about ready for the press ; but, after his death, in 


6 Preface. 

I854, nothing was found written on the subject, and it is now 
generally believed that he had not commenced the writing. 
After the death of Dr. Waller, his surviving partner and co- 
editor, S. H. Ford, now the well known Dr. Ford, of St. Louis, 
commenced gathering materials for Kentucky Baptist Histoiy. 
About I856 he began to weave these materials into historical 
sketches, which he published in The C/iristia?i Repository. His 
intention was to continue the work until he had brought the 
history down to the present, and then put it in a more perma- 
nent form. But the Civil War caused the suspension of his 
labors in Kentucky, in 1861, and the final removal of his peri- 
odical to St. Louis. However, he gathered much historical 
material, and left in print some matter that was useful to the 
subsequent historian. 

In 1866, R. L. Thurman and the author of this work pro- 
posed to gather materials for A History of the Deceased Bap- 
tist Ministers of KentiLcky. Mr. Thurman soon discovered that 
the proposed work interfered with his duties as agent for foreign 
missions, and abandoned the purpose. The author continued 
to pursue the work alone, in connection with his labors as an 
evangelist. In prosecuting this enterprise, he was brought to 
the conclusion that a change of his plan, so as to include the 
early history of the Baptist denomination in the State, would 
be an improvement on the original design. He was contem- 
plating this change in the arrangement, when, in 1870, W. 
Pope Yeaman announced his intention to write A History of 
Kentucky Baptists. Dr. Yeaman pursued his purpose two or 
three years, when his enterprise was lost sight of, it being sup- 
posed to have been abandoned. The author, remembering the 
repeated failures that had attended similar attempts, continued 
to prosecute his researches and collect materials, while preach- 
ing from 442 to 572 times a year, i 

In 1876, the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky 
adopted the following : 

"The committee to whom was referred the subject of Ken- 
tucky Baptist History have considered the same, and beg leave 
to report : 

"By the utter and continued failures heretofore to procure 
facts, and any person or persons to accomplish an end so desir- 
able as a history of Kentucky Baptists, your committee do not 

Preface. 7 

feel inclined to continue the work in the hands of associational 
committees, but would most respectfully transfer the whole 
matter into the hands of Rev. J. H. Spencer, D. D., with the 
request that he at once proceed to prepare such a history of 
Kentucky Baptists as he is enabled from facts, documents, etc., 
now in his possession and [that he] maybe able to procure, and 
that he report his progress at the next meeting of the General 
Association. Green Clay Smith, Chairman." 

The author at once accepted the responsibility, not without 
feeling its great weight and soni: of the difficulties he would 
have to encounter, and gave to the work all the time he could 
spare from what he deemed the higher duty of preaching the 
gospel. The field had been gleaned of historic documents in 
the more easily accessible portions of the State, again and 
again, and the matter, so obtained, had either been destroyed, 
or those who had it in their possession esteemed it too highly 
to allow the author the use of it. He was also farther embar- 
rassed by ascertaining that very many of his brethren had the 
ineffaceable impression that the work, which he deemed a great 
sacrifice for the benefit of his denomination, \a as a promising 
pecuniary speculation. Letters and circulars, sent to all parts 
of the State, received very little attention. His find resort, 
therefore, was to get on his horse, and, at such seasons of the 
year as he could not be engaged in the work of an evangelist, 
thoroughly canvass the whole State. This required several 
years, and by the time it was accomplished, his health was so 
enfeebled that he greatly feared he could not live to finish the 
book, now that the materials for its composition were collected. 
Meanwhile he was so afflicted with rheumatism that he could 
handle papers only with extreme difficulty and was compelled 
to employ an amanuensis to do his writing. Through all these 
trials and afflictions, however, God has sustained him in his 
tedious labors, and the work finished, after nineteen years of 
excessive toil, is offered to the Baptists of Kentucky and the 
general public, without a reasonable hope of pecuniary reward. 

Among many kind friends who have generously aided 
him, the author takes pleasure in naming the following : 

Rev. John James, of Adair county; Rev. M. F. Ham, 
Rev. Y. Witherspoon, J. K. Collins and Wm. Spencer, of Al- 
len ; Rev, T. J, Hedger and Mrs. Judge Bell, of Anderson; 

8 Preface. 

Gov. P. H. Leslie, Col. Wm. Ellis, Jas. Scrivner, Rev. John 
H. Baker, Rev. Jas. Brooks and Rev. E. Butram, of Barren ; 
Rev. J. A. Kirtley, D. D. and Rev. L. Johnson, of Boone ; 
Rev. Wm. Head, Rev, S. L. Helm, D. D., Hon. R. R. Pearce 
and Mrs. Harriet Moorman, of Breckenridge ; Hon. Aaron 
Harding and Jas. Slaughter, of Boyle ; Rev. T. E. Richey and 
Rev. R. W. Moorehead, of Caldwell ; Rev. J. C. Spann, of 
Calloway ; Rev. J. M. Jolly and Mrs. Jas. Spillman, of Camp- 
bell ; Walton Craig and Peter Conway, of Carroll ; Prof. J. W. 
Rust and Kirtley Twyman, of Christian ; Rev. Wm. Rupart, 
J. N. Conkwright and A. G. Bush, of Clark ; Rev. Taylor Gil- 
bert, of Clay; Judge P. H. Hopkins and Rev. J. C. Denton, 
of Clinton; Rev. J. B. Hardy, of Crittenden ; Mrs. J. A. Mc- 
Clusky, of Cumberland ; Rev. J. M. Dawson, Rev. W. H. 
Dawson, Rev. J. P. Ellis and Rev. J. B. Solomon, D. D. , of 
Daviess; Rev. I. N. Brown, of Edmonson; Rev. R. T. Dil- 
lard, D. D , Rev. J. C. Freeman and J. W. Royster. , of 
Fayette; Rev. Cad. Lewis, L. L. D., of Frnnklin ; Rev. Wm. 
Cook, of Floyd ; Rev. W. C. Taylor, Rev. W. F. Lowe and 
Rev. Wm. Howard, of Graves ; Rev. T. K. Reynolds, of 
Greenup ; W. D. Hopper and J. H. Kemper, of Garrard ; 
Rev. J. E. Stone, of Hancock ; Rev. J. H. Fullilove, Rev. G. 
H. Hicks, Hon. Sam. Haycraft and Abram Lewis, of Hardin ; 
Rev. A. W. Richardson and John B. Edwards, of Hart ; Rev. 
John Bryce and Rev. A. Hatchitt of Henderson ; Rev. Willis 
White and Rev. Stephen Ray, of Hickman ; Rev. E. G. Berry, 
Rev. D. N. Porter, M. D., Rev. J. M. Eaton and Mrs. Nancy 
Tingle, of Henry; Milton Sisk, of Hopkins ; Rev. A. C. Cap- 
erton, D. D., Rev. J. L. Burrows, D, D., John Williamson 
and Mrs. Ann Netherton, of Jefferson ; Rev. Wm. Jayne, of 
Johnson; Rev. J. G. Holcomb, of Jackson; Rev. Thos. Pritch- 
ard, G. B. Foley and J. H. Davis, of Knox ; Rev. John Dun- 
can, of LaRue ; Rev. J. W. Moran, of Laurel ; Rev. S. C. 
Caudill, of Letcher ; Rev. Jno. S. Higgins, of Lincoln ; Rev. 
M. H. Utley, of Livingston ; Jno. W. Jackson, of Lyon ; T. 
N. Lyne, Rev. Jas. Lamb, Rev. Sam'l Baker, D. D., Rev. 
Robert Woodward, A. L. Burks and Mrs. B. B. Piper, of 
Logan; Rev. Jno. G. Pond, of Madison; Rev. C. W. Bailey, 
of Magoffin ; Rev. D. M. Green and Rev. T. F. Harrison, of 
Marshall; S. S. Minor, of Mason; Rev. G. W. Dupee (col.), 

Preface. g 

of McCracken ; Rev. S. Cook and E. Burrus, of Mercer ; Rev. 
Wm. L. Givedon, M. D., of Morgan, Rev. Jas. Williamson, 
of Martin; Rev. Wm. Vaughan, D. D., Abner King, J. S. 
Foxworthy and Wm. Taylor, of Nelson ; Jno. Simpson, of 
Owsley ; Rev. Jno. W. Waldrop, Rev. J. V. Riley and R. S. 
Coats, of Owen; Rev. N. C. Pettit, of Pendleton ; Rev. H. B. 
Whiles, W. T. Hail and C. H. McKinney, of Pulaski ; Rev. 
R. M. Dudley, D. D., President of Georgetown College, of^ 
Scott; Rev. W. E. Powers, Prof. T. J. Doolan, Daniel Shouse, 
J. G. Farmer, Rev. T. M. Daniel and Mrs. Jane Collins, of 
Shelby; Rev. O. H. Morrovv^, of Simpson ; Rev. T. H. Cole- 
man and Lummie Grigsby, of Spencer ; Prof. H. B. Wayland, 
M. B. Wharton, Rev. H. Smith and Robt. Goodwin, of Trigg; 
Rev. A. Smith and Miss Lizzie Arnold, of Trimble ; Rev. J. 
B. Haynes and S. M. Martin, of Union ; Rev. W. W. Durham 
and Hon. George Wright, of Warren ; Rev. Joel Gordon and 
Gabriel Kendrick, of Washington ; Isaiah Bird and Jas. Mead- 
ows, of Whitley; Rev. W. A. Cooper, Jacob Cooper and T. J. 
Eads, of Wayne.; Revs. Jonathan Wiseman, Robt. Norvell 
and A. D. Sears, of the State of Tennessee ; Rev. C. J. Kelley, 
of Illinois, and I. N. Wyman, of Kansas. Besides these, many 
others, whose names must be omitted for want of space, have 
rendered the author valuable aid, for which he begs leave to 
express his gratitude. He also desires to express his thanks 
to the editors of the Western Recorder, the Baptist Gleaner, and 
a number of other papers, both religious and secular, for timely 
words of encouragement. 

The author's aim has been to record, as nearly as might 
be, all that is valuable and interesting in the history of the 
Baptists in Kentucky, from the time that Elder Squire Boone 
first set his foot on the soil of the unexplored wilderness, in the 
spring of 1769, down to the year 1885. Great pains have been 
taken to ascertain the facts, and nothing has been recorded as 
a fact without what the author deemed good authority. His 
principal sources of information have been the official rec- 
ords of churches and associations, though he has had access 
to nearly all that has been published on the subject, especially 
during the earlier periods, as well as the manuscript diaries and 
correspondence of a number of prominent ministers of the past. 
He has also visited, and conversed with many aged ministers 

lO Preface. 

and other persons, in all parts of the State, and corresponded 
with many of "the fathers" who have since gone to their re- 
ward. No pains have been spared in seeking every source of 
information, and especial care has been taken to have dates 
correct. But after all possible efforts have been made to secure 
exact accuracy, there will, doubtless, be some mistakes found 
in the book. There are discrepancies and contradictions both 
in official records and in what have been deemed the best his- 
torical authorities. From these causes some mistakes are in- 
evitable, but it is hoped they are few and unimportant. 

The author has attempted the utmost brevity consistent 
with perspicuity, and an earnest effort has been made to render 
the book easily comprehensible to the common reader. 

In speaking of other denominations, the author has desired 
and attempted to be just and respectful. The terms Camp- 
bellism and Campbellite have been used just as have 
those of Calvinism, Arminianism, Calvinist and Wesleyan, 
not as terms of reproach, but simply as the most definite 
if not the only words that would clearly designate the system 
of doctrine to which reference is made, and the adherents of 
that system. 

The history of the Colored Baptists is brief and unsat- 
isfactory, on account of the difficulty of obtaining sufficient 
information concerning them. A few of the better informed 
among them seemed pleased to have their history written, and 
were ready to impart what information they could, but mogt of 
them appeared shy and suspicious. 

No appology is deemed necessary for such repetitions as 
were required to make each subject treated intelligible without 
reference to what had gone before ; as the manner of reading, 
in the present age, demands such arrangement. 

The author is sensible of many deficiencies in the work, in 
matter, style and arrangement ; but he begs leave to assure his 
readers that he has done the best he could under the circum- 
stances, to furnish them a correct and impartial history of Ken- 
tucky Baptists, and craves their indulgence for any failure of his 


Eminence, Kentucky, August 24, 1885. 



The first attempt to explore Kentucky was made by Daniel 
Boone, in 1769. The following extract is from his autobiogra- 
phy : "It was on the first of May, 1769, that I resigned my 
domestic happiness, and left my family and peaceful habitation 
on the Yadkin river in North Carolina, to wander through the 
wilderness of America in quest of the country of Kentucky, in 
company with John Finley, John Stuart, Joseph Holden, 
Money and Wm. Cool. On the 7th of June, after traveling 
through a mountainous wilderness, in a western direction, we 
found ourselves on Red river, where John Finley had form- 
erly been trading with the Indians, and, from the top of an em- 
inence, saw with pleasure the beautiful level of Kentucky." 
During the following December, Boone and Stuart were taken 
prisoners by the Indians, but made their escape after remain- 
ing in captivity about a week. Meanwhile, Squire Boone, a 
brother of Daniel, had come to Kentucky with another man, 
and, in their wanderings, the two brothers accidentally met, 
about the first of January, 1770. Soon after this, John Stuart 
was killed by the Indians. The rest of the party having 
returned home, the Boone brothers spent the winter alone in the 
great western wilderness. On the first of May, Squire Boone 
returned to North Carolina for a supply of ammunition. He 
rejoined his brother, on the 27th of July. After this they trav- 
eled as far south as the Cumberland river. In March, 177 1, 
they returned to their homes in North Carolina. 

In 1770, James Knox, with eleven hunters from the Hol- 
ston. New River, and Clinch settlements, made an exploring 
tour to Green river and the western part of Cumberland. ,They 
remained in the country about a year. Three years later, 
Thomas Bullitt, with a party of surveyors, came to the falls of 

1 1 

J 2 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

the Ohio. Robert, James and George McAfee, John Floyd 
and others visited various parts of Kentucky, the same year. 
In 1774. James Harrod built a log cabin where Harrodsburg 
now stands, the first erected in Kentucky. 

During this year, Richard Henderson bought of the Cher- 
okee Indians all the land lying south of the Kentucky river. 
The purchase was afterward made void by an act of the Vir- 
ginia legislature ; but, for the the time being, Col. Henderson 
was regarded lord proprietor of the soil, and, under his em- 
ployment, in 1775, Daniel Boone erected a fort on the Kentuc- 
ky river at a place since called Boonesboro, in Madison county. 
"On the i4th of June," says Boone, "having finished the fort, 
I returned to my family on the Clinch. Soon after, I removed 
my family to this fort ; we arrived safe, my wife and daughters 
being the first white women that stood on the banks of the 
Kentucky river." 

In September of the same year, three men named Denton, 
McGary, and Hogan came with their wives and children to 
Harrodsburg, then called Harrodstown. 

Early in the spring of 1776, Col. Richard Calloway, with 
his wife and two daughters, came to Boonesboro, and, in March 
of the same year. Col. Benjamin Logan brought his family to Lo- 
gans fort, about one mile west of the present town of Stan- 
ford in Lincoln county, where he, with a few slaves, had raised 
a crop of corn, in 1775. Simon Kenton built a cabin, and 
raised a crop of corn, in 1775. where the town of Washington 
in Mason county is now located. Of the church relation of the 
few famihes which settled in Kentucky, in 1775, and the year 
following, nothing has been learned. We know however, that 
the Boones and Calloways were Baptists in sentiment, and that 
Squire Boone, who settled in the country a little later, was a 
Baptist preacher. Daniel Boone was never a member of any 
church. Some of his family became Baptists. Among the 
descendants of Squire Boone, have been several Baptist preach- 
ers, and the descendants of Col. Calloway have been promi- 
nent among the Baptists of both Kentucky and Missouri. A 
few years after the settlement of Boonesboro and Harrodsburg, 
many prominent Baptists settled in Kentucky, some of whom 
will be noticed in subsequent pages. 

The first Baptist preacher known to have been in Ken- 

First Baptist Settlers in Kentucky. 13 

' tucky, except Squire Boone, who explored it before any set- 
tlement was made, was Thomas Tinsley. Beyond the simple 
fact that he was in Harrodsburg, and was regularly preaching 
there on Sabbath days, in the spring of 1776, but little is 
known of him. Wm. Hickman, who visited Harrodsburg at 
that time, and who afterward became an eminent preacher 
among the early Baptists of Kentucky, in a narrative of his 
"Life and Travels," says: 

"We got to Harrodstown the first day of April. * * * * 
Myself, brother Thomas Tinsley and my old friend, Mr. Mor- 
ton, took our lodgings at Mr. John Gordon's, four miles from 
town. Mr. Tinsley was a good old preacher, Mr. Morton a 
good, pious Presbyterian, and love and friendship abounded 
among us. We went nearly every Sunday to town to hear 
Mr. Tinsley preach. I generally concluded his meetings. One 
Sunday Morning, sitting at the head of a spring at this place, 
he laid his Bible on my thigh and said to me, 'you must preach 
to day'. He said if I did not, he would not. I knew he would 
not draw back. I took the book and turned to the 23d chapter 
of Numbers, loth verse: 'Let me die the death of the right- 
eous, and let my last end be like his.' I suppose I spake fif- 
teen or twenty minutes, a good deal scared, thinking if I had 
left any gaps down, he would put them up. He followed me 
with a good discourse, but never mentioned any blunders." 

What is contained in this paragraph is all that can now be 
known of the first Baptist preacher that ever preached in Ken- 
tucky, or, as far as is known, in any part of the great West. 
At what time he came to Kentucky, or where from, is not 
known. He did" not come with Mr. Hickman ; for the latter 
gives the names of all who left Virginia with him, and Mr. 
Tinsley's is not among them. He either Tell in with Mr. Hick- 
man's party on the way, or was at Harrodsburg when the latter 
reached that village. However curious we may be to know 
more of the good old soldier of the Cross, who first bore the 
tidings of salvation to this great valley, we shall probably never 
be gratified till we meet with him in "the house of many man- 

William Hickman was not a preacher when he came to 
Harrodsburg ; but he was a zealous Baptist, and, as we have 
seen, was ready to take part in the service of his Master when 

14 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

called on. He preached his first sermon at Harrodsburg, 
without license from his church, at the request of good old 
Thomas Tinsley. On his return to Virginia, he was hailed as 
a preacher, and immediately entered the vineyard of the Lord 
as a minister of the gospel. George Stokes Smith, a distin- 
guished pioneer preacher among the Baptists, came to Ken- 
tucky in company with Mr. Hickman, and probably went to 
Boonesboro. He also returned to Virginia, where he continued 
to preach for a time, and then settled permanently in Ken- 
tucky. Of these ministers and others that followed them, a 
fuller account will be given hereafter. Edmund Woolridge, a 
Baptist, came to Kentucky, in 1776, and subsequently settled 
at the fork of Elkhorn. 

In the fall of 1779, John Taylor, who had been preaching 
with much success in Virginia, came to Kentucky, and spent 
the following winter among the settlers. Joseph Redding 
started with his family to come by water, the same fall, but did 
not reach Kentucky till the next spring. These two preachers 
intended to settle in the new country, if they were pleased 
with it ; but being discouraged by the low state of religion, 
they both returned to Virginia the following summer. It is 
not known that any preacher settled in Kentucky previous to 
1/79' ^^t during that and the following year, several found 
homes in the wilderness, and raised the standard of the Cross in 
different localities. 

William Marshall, if not the first, was among the first 
preachers that became permanent residents in the new country. 
The exact date of his arrival is not known. John Taylor says 
he moved to Kentucky "in 1779 or '80." He appears to have 
settled first in what is now Lincoln county, and afterwards to 
have located in Shelby. 

William Marshall was born low down in the Northern Neck 
in Virginia, in 1735. His family was of eminent respectability, 
and he was raised in affluence. He was an uncle to the dis- 
tinguished Chief Justice Marshall, and a brother to Col. 
Thomas Marshall, who was distinguished among the Kentucky 
pioneers, and whose descendants have been so noted for brilli- 
ancy of talent, in Kentucky, from its first settlement to the 
present time. He spent his youth in sport and social gayety. 
"In youth," says J. B. Taylor, "he was remarkable for his de- 

First Baptist Settlers in Kentucky. i j 

votion to the fashionable amusements of the day. His tall/ 
graceful form, dark piercing eye and engaging manners ren- 
dered him the pride of the circle in which he moved." This 
vain and thoughtless course of life was continued till near mid- 
dle age ; but having married the sister of Elder John Pickett, 
he was brought under the ministry of that faithful servant of 
Christ and other Baptist preachers. In 1768, some of the zea- 
lous Separate Baptists visited Fauquier county, and Mr. Mar- 
shall was converted and baptized. John Taylor, in his biogra- 
phy of William Marshall, speaks of him thus : "He soon be- 
gan to preach, and a flaming zealot he was. His preaching 
was of the loud thunder-gust kind. His labors were mostly 
employed on the waters of the Shenandoah river, west of the 
Blue Ridge. It was not long before the people became marve- 
lously affected, and their cries would often drown Mr. Marshall's 
voice while preaching. To see one or more thousands of 
people gathered at a large meeting house, lately put up, with- 
out room to receive them, and in the dead of winter, the people 
standing in the snow for hours together to hear the word, and 
hundreds at once crying out for mercy, or loudly rejoicing in 
hope — and all this was so new that the spectators would be apt 
to think the end of the world was come, or to say, 'We have 
seen strange things today.'" At this time Mr. Marshall had 
not been ordained. Many people were converted to the Lord. 
Samuel Harris traveled about two hundred miles to baptize 
them. Fifty three were immersed the first time, and a larger 
number afterwards. This was the first baptism ever performed 
in Shenandoah river. It occured in 1770. South River 
church of Separate Baptists was constituted the same day. 
During these meetings held by Mr. Marshall, Joseph and Isaac 
Redding were converted. John Taylor was converted soon af- 
terwards. These three men became useful preachers among 
the pioneers of Kentucky. They will occupy their appropriate 
places in our future pages. 

Mr. Marshall continued to labor in this region with great 
zeal and success, nearly twelve years. . Meanwhile he was or- 
dained, and became pastor of South River church, afterwards 
called Happy Creek. As has been related, he moved to Ken- 
tucky as early as 1780. After laboring in this new field some 
years, he fell from his horse, and was so disabled that he was a 

l6 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

long time confined to his home. During this period he devo- 
ted himseif to study, and made considerable changes in his doc- 
trinal views. Concerning his latter years, we again quote from 
John Taylor, his biographer : 

"In his days of success, he preached after the apostolic 
mode, strongly urging repentance towards God and faith in 
Ghristjesus, and with longing, heart-melting invitations, ex- 
horting every sinner in his congregation to seek the salvation ol 

his soul He now studied consistency, beginning 

with God's decrees. There he found eternal justification, 
couched in the doctrine of election; and so on with the several 
links of his chain, till he was led to find out that the gospel ad- 
dress was only to certain characters which, when explained, 
were already righteous, though they well deserved the name of 
sinners. But as for mere sinners, the law of Moses only was 
their portion He found that a number of his Bap- 
tist Christians could not eat what they called his strong meat. 
This led him to doubt their Christianity, or, at least, the sound- 
ness of their faith. This led on to a dispute in Fox Run 
church in Shelby county, where his membership was, which ter- 
minated in his expulsion. After this, he never could agree to 
return to the church, though a very little from him would have 
given the church satisfaction. A few years after, he died, aged 
"jZ years, and about 40 years after he began to preach. " 

Mr. Marshall's labors, though neither so abundant nor suc- 
cessful in the new country as they had been in Virginia, were 
valuable at a period when he was the only preacher of any de- 
nomination in all that portion of Kentucky lying east of the 
present turnpike road leading from Louisville, by way of Bards- 
town, to Nashville. About the same time that he settled in 
Lincoln county, five other Baptist preachers — four or- 
dained and one licensed — located in the small settlements 
south of Louisville. Those ordained were Joseph Barnett, John 
Whitaker, James Skaggs and Benjamin Lynn, the licentiate be- 
ing John Gerrard. 

Jos. Barnett settled in what is now Nelson county, as early 
as 1780. He came from Virginia, where he had been active in 
building up the churches of which Ketocton Association was 
formed. He belonged to the Regular Baptists. After his re- 
moval to Kentucky he and John Whitaker, with the aid of 

Fzrst Baptist Settlers in Kentucky. ly 

John Gerrard, gathered Severns Valley church in what is now 
Hardin county, and Cedar Creek in what is now Nelson. The 
former was constituted on the 1 8th of June, 1781, the latter, on 
the 4th of July of the same year. These were the first church- 
es gathered on the soil of Kentucky. Mr. Barnett was pastor 
of Cedar Creek church at least four years. He preached the in- 
troductory sermon before the convention that formed Salem 
Association, at Cox's Creek in Nelson county,- on the 31st of 
October, 1785. This is the last we hear of him. Even 
tradition is silent, and we shall probably know no more of him 
till we meet with him at the Judgement Seat of Christ. 

John Gerrard, to whom further reference will be made in 
the history of Severns Valley church, settled in what is now 
Hardin county as early as 1780. Little is known of him, ex- 
cept that he was ordained the first pastor of Severns Valley, 
at the time of its constitution, assisted in constituting Cedar 
Creek church in Nelson county and, in the spring of 1782, start- 
ed out to hunt in the forest near his home. He was never af- 
terwards heard of, and is supposed to have been murdered by 
the Indians. 

Benjamin Lynn, who is supposed to have emigrated from Vir- 
ginia, came to Kentucky, in 1780. He probably remained a 
short time in Philips' fort in what is now LaRue county, where, 
according to tradition, he raised up the church now called 
South Fork, in 1782. Afterwards he settled on Beech Fork in 
Nelson county, where he raised up Pottengers Creek church, in 
1785. Of these two churches and another which he and his 
co-laborer, James Skaggs, constituted under the style of Level 
Woods, he was pastor during about fifteen years. He was a Sep- 
arate Baptist, and seems to have possessed all the zeal that 
characterized his brethren in Virginia, as well as the courage, 
love of adventure and powers of endurance of Daniel Boone. 
His time was divided between hunting and preaching. After 
laboring among the settlements between Salt river and Green 
river about twenty years, he moved to where his brother Will- 
iam had settled, on the southern border of the State. Here he 
fell in with the "Newlights," under the leadership of Barton 
W. Stone, and finally united with them. Some time after this 
he visited his old neighborhood, and went among the churches 
he had planted in Nelson and La Rue counties, by the mem- 

1 8 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

bers of which he had been greatly beloved. But now that he 
had united with another sect, they received him coldly. The 
old father was much mortified, and soon returned home. Not 
long after this, he went to give an account of his stewardship to 
the Master in whose service he had spent many years of toil 
and danger, 

Mr. Lynn was reckoned a good preacher, and a man of un- 
doubted piety and devotion to the cause of the Redeemer. 
His name is perpetuated in Nolin river and Lynn Camp creek, 
and honored in Nolin church, Nolynn Association, Lynn Asso- 
ciation and Lynland Institute. 

J.^MES Skaggs came from Virginia to Kentucky about the 
same time that Benjamin Lynn did, and was associated with 
that famous pioneer in his early labors in the new country. Af- 
ter a few years, he fell under reproach on account of immoral 
conduct, and moved further west. After this nothing more is 
known ot bim. A creek or small river in Barren county bears 
his name. 

At the close of the year, 1780, there were one licensed 
and five ordained Baptist preachers in what is now the large 
and populous State of Kentucky — William Marshall, Jo- 
seph Barnett, John Whitaker, Benjamin Lynn, James Skaggs 
and licentiate John Gerrard. If there were any others it is not 
now known. There was no preacher of any other sect in the 
new country, The broad field was left, for the present, to the 
Baptists alone. We know of a few Baptist church members, 
and doubtless there were others whose names we shall not know. 
But few as there were, at this period, they had brought with 
them, the seeds of discord, some of the bitter fruits of which we 
shall see in the sequel. Some of them were Separate and others 
Regular Baptists — a distinction almost without a difference. 
Of the preachers, Marshall, Lynn and Skaggs were Separates, 
while Barnett, Whitaker and Gerrard were Regulars. There 
was no church organization of any kind in the country. But 
these workmen were doubtless preparing materials of which to 
erect habitations of God through the Spirit. We shall see 
something of the first fruits of their labors in the wilderness, 
in the next chapter. 



During a period of more than twenty-five years since the last 
of the pioneer fathers fell asleep, much interest has been felt, 
and much earnest inquiry has been made, as to which is the old- 
est church in Kentucky, and what was the date of its constitution. 
The dilligent Sweed, John Asplund, who traveled on foot from 
Maine to Georgia, and as far west as Kentucky, for the purpose 
of collecting statistics, of which to compose a Baptist register, 
for 1790, did the Baptists of America a good service in preserv- 
ing approximate dates and numbers of their old churches and 
associations. But it was not practicable for him to have all his 
dates technically correct. A comparison of his register with 
the official records, exhibits many mistakes. Subsequent his- 
torians have followed him, and, of course copied his blunders. 
In order to correct these errors, we must have recourse to the 
official records, where such resources can be found. Happily 
such records have been found as will enable us to determine 
with sufficient exactness the time of constituting our early 

For some years after the constitution of our oldest associa- 
tions, the minutes of their proceedings were not printed, and 
few of the manuscripts containing them have been preserved. 
In 1825, Elder Spencer Clack, an accomplished scholar, and, at 
that time, a member of Simpsons Creek (now Bloomfield) 
church, was elected clerk of Salem Association. That body, 
fearing that its minutes wbuld be lost, if not put in a more per- 
manent form, made the following order: "The clerk is re- 
quested to make out a condensed history of this Association, 
and present it at our next meeting. " Mr, Clack presented his 
report to the Association at its annual meeting in 1826. The 
following extract is taken from that report, as recorded in the 


20 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Association book, and printed in the minutes of that date -_ 

"At the last meeting of the Association, the clerk of the 
Association was requested to make out a condensed history of 
the Association. From his own personal knowledge, he knows 
but little of its history. From the book of records, he has derived 
all the information in his possession, from which he has, in 
most cases copied verbatim what you will read in the following 
pages. " 

"On Saturday, the twenty-ninth of October, seventeen 
hundred and eighty-five, four Regular Baptist churches met at 
Cox's Creek, Nelson county, Ky. by their delegates, in order 
to form an association, and, after a suitable sermon on the occa- 
sion, preached by our brother, Joseph Barnett, from the first 
chapter of John and 17 verse, proceeded to business. Brother 
Joseph Ba^rnett being chosen Moderator, and Brother Andrew 
Paul, Clerk." 

"/. Letters from four churches were read, viz. : 

Severns Valley, constituted June eighteen, seventeen hun- 
dred and eighty-one, number of members, thirty-seven. No 
pastor. " 

"Cedar Creek, constituted July fourth, seventeen hundred 
and eighty-one. Joseph Barnett, pastor." 

"Bear Grass, constituted January, seventeen hundred and 
eighty-four, number nineteen, John Whitacre, pastor." 

"Cox's Creek, constituted April, seventeen hundred and 
eighty-five, members twenty-six. " 

Another witness confirms the statements of the official rec- 
ord in regard to Severns Valley church. Hon. Samuel Hay- 
craft, a member of this church, and a cotemporary of several of 
those who entered into its constitution, published a history of 
the old fraternity, in the CJiristian Repository of April, 1857. 
He states that the church was constituted of 18 members ; June 
18, 1 78 1, under a green sugar tree, about a half mile from the 
present limit of Elizabethtown, the county seat of Hardin. A- 
mong the original members were Jacob Vanmeter, Sr. and his 
wife, Letty, Jacob Vanmeter, their son, Bennam Shaw, Jacob 
Dye, and Hannah, his wife, and three colored persons, Mark, 
Bambo and Dinah, servants of Jacob Vanmeter. It is also 
probable that John Gerrard and Thomas Helm were in the 
constitution. Among the early members of this church were 

First Churches Planted. 21 

many distinguished citizens, of whom may be named John La 
Rue, in honor of whom LaRue county was named, Robert 
Hodgen, from whom Hodgenville derived its appelation, Gen. 
Duff Green, afterwards of Washington city, and Thomas Helm, 
father of Hon. George Helm, grandfather of the late Gov. 
John LaRue Helm and Rev. Dr. S. L. Helm, and great grand- 
father of Hon. George H. Yeaman, Rev. Dr. W. Pope Yea; 
man, and other distinguished citizens. Of the descendants of 
the original members of this old church many able ministers of 
the New Testament have gone forth to declare to the multiiudes 
the blessed message that gladdened the hearts of their ancestors^ 
amid the toils and dangers of the savage-infested wilderness. 
The following graphic description of the scene presented at the 
constitution of Severns Valley church, is from the pen of Hon, 
Samuel Haycraft, a grandson of Jacob Vanmeter, jr. 
"There are facts and circumstances connected with the early 
history of the Church with which the present generation is lit- 
tle acquainted. When this present wide-spread and favored 
country was but a wilderness ; when not a human habitation 
was to be found between Louisville (then called the Falls of the 
Ohio,) and Green river, save a few families, who had ventured 
to Severn's Valley — a dense forest, and unexplored — and com- 
menced a rude settlement far from the haunts of civilized man ; 
there the lamented John Gerrard, a minister of God, came like 
John the Baptist, "The voice of one crying in the zvilderness,'' 
and finding a few of the desciples of the Lord Jesus Christ like 
sheep without a shepherd, on the i8th day of June, 1781, they 
were collected together under a green sugar tree ; and in the 
fear of God, in church covenant gave themselves t6 the Lord 
and to one another, and were constituted a Baptist Church, 
named after Severns Valley and the creek which flows through 
it. It has ever borne the same name, none having dared, and 
it is hoped never may, to lay impious hands upon it by chang- 
ing its venerable and venerated name — "Severn's Valley 

Then they did not occupy a house of worship, as at present; 
then there were no waving harvests, or burdened fields of corn ; 
no hospitable mansion to receive shelter and cheer the man of 
God after delivering his message ; but in some humble, round 
log cabin with earth floor, or rude, half-faced camp, with bark 

22 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

roof; or, perchance, under the shade of some spreading tree, 
the humble disciples met ; they met like brethren, surrounded 
by dangers, in a forest of unknown boundary, not knowing at 
what moment the savages would break in upon them ; they had 
fears without and fightings within. Could we of the present 
generation look upon a group, giving a correct representation 
of one of those religious assemblies, it might strike us as some- 
what grotesque, if not ludicrous. Imagine the male members, 
partly in Indian costume, leather leggins, breech clouts and 
moccasins, with hats made of buffalo wool rolled around white 
oak splints and sewed together ; and the females in the simple 
attire of bed-gown and petticoats entirely of buffalo wool ; under- 
wear of dressed deer skins, for as yet no flax, cotton, or sheep's 
wool were to be found in their wilderness home. The brethren 
sat with rifle in hand and tomahawk at their side, with a sentry 
at the door. Yet they feared God and considered themselves 
highly favored, for they had the word of God dispensed, and 
sanctuary privileges in the great temple of Nature. The reader 
may smile at the picture, but dare not innock. They were 
good people ; their appearance was not of choice, but from the 
force of circumstances. " 

The same day on which the church was constituted, prob- 
ably by Joseph Barnett and John Whitaker, John Gerrard was or- 
dained its pastor. He was, therefore, the first pastor of a Bap 
tist church — the first who discharged the functions of a scriptur- 
al bishop — in the great valley, lying between the Alleghany and 
Rocky Mountains. His was a vast parish, and he occupied a re- 
sponsible position. But he did not long enjoy his honors, nor 
bear his responsibilities. About eleven months after his assump- 
tion of the pastoral office, he took his rifle and went out to hunt 
for game in a neighboring forest. At night fall, his wife and 
daughter watched for him in vain. He never came. It is 
supposed that he was killed by the Indians, who were then 
prowling around the infant settlements, determined to drive 
the "pale faces" from their hunting ground. His history, ex- 
cept during his brief sojourn in Severns Valley, has faded from 
the memory of men. We know not whence he came nor 
whither he went. Our knowledge of him may be summed up 
in a single sentence from the pen of Mr. Haycraft: "Like John 

First ChiircJies Planted. 23 

the Baptist, he came preaching in the wilderness, and, hke 
Moses, no man knoweth of his supulchre until this day." 

Severns Valley church has, for many years past, been lo- 
cated in Elizabethtown, but still retains its ancient name. It 
first united in forming Salem Association, but afterwards, per- 
haps on account of its opposition to slavery, united with Green 
River Association. After a year or two, it returned to Salem, 
of which it still remains a member. It has generally been a 
peaceful, orderly and prosperous church, and has numbered 
among its pastors, such eminent ministers as Alexander Mc- 
Dougal, David Thurman, Colmore Lovelace, Robert L. Thur- 
man, George H. Hicks, Jacob Rogers, William Vaughan, 
William L. Morris and John S. Gatton. From its membership 
have sprung the following preachers : Josiah Dodge, Isaac 
Hodgen, Colmore Lovelace, Jacob Rogers, S. L. Helm, W. 
L. Morris, A. W. LaRue, John H. Yeaman and James Hay- 
craft. It has sent out colonies to form the following churches: 
Nolin, Middle Creek, Rudes Creek, Youngers Creek, Mill 
Creek, Mt. Zion, Gilead and perhaps others. These, some of 
which date back almost to the beginning of the present century 
have sent out their colonies, in turn : so, that old Severns Val- 
ley is the mother of a multitude. 

Cedar Creek church was the second organized in Ken- 
tucky. It was gathered by Joseph Barnett who was assisted 
in its constitution by John Gerrard, July' 4, 1781. It is located 
in Nelson county, about five miles south-west from Bardstown. 
It will be observed that it is only sixteen days younger than 
Severns Valley, and probably might as well have been consti- 
tuted as early, or even earlier than that church, had not our 
patriotic fathers desired to do honor to the Fourth of July, it 
being only five years after the Declaration of Independence, 
and while the old Revolutionary War was still in progress. 
Among the prominent citizens, who were members of this 
church, in an early day, were James Rogers, a member of the 
Danville convention, in 1785, and Judge James Slaughter. The 
first pastor was Joseph Barnett, who continued to minister to 
the church till October, 1785, and probably some years later. 
The second pastor was Joshua Morris, who continued, to labor 
with the church a long series of years, during which time it 
greatly prospered. 

24 History of Kentucky Baptists, 

Joshua Morris was born in James City county, Va., about 
the year 1750. His father and one of his uncles were Baptist 
preachers in Virginia, where they labored during the stormy 
period of persecution. 

Mr. Morris was awakened to a sense of his lost estate un- 
der the the preaching of Elijah Baker, by whom he was bap- 
tized for the fellowship of James City church, in his native 
county, about the year 1773. Very soon after his baptism, he 
commenced exhorting, and, two years later, began laboring 
with Elijah Baker, at Grafton, where his exhortations were 
profitable. After this he moved to the neighborhood of Boar 
Swamp (now Antioch) church, of which he became a member. 
While here, he commenced holding meetings at the house of a 
Mr. Franklin, near the city of Richmond. The Lord blessed 
his labors, and soon several persons were baptized. There was 
no Baptist church in Richmond at that time, and it is even 
doubtful whether any Baptist had ever preached within its 

Not far from the year 1776, Mr. Morris moved into the 
city, and commenced laboring among the people. Again his 
labors were blessed. Within about two years, a sufficient 
number was baptized to warrant an organization, and, in 1780, 
the First Baptist church in Richmond was constituted. Mr. 
Morris was immediately chosen its pastor. He continued to 
labor in this position about eight years. In I788, he moved to 
Kentucky, where he stopped, for a time, on Elkhorn. But the 
Lord had prepared a field of labor for him in another locality. 
He was led to it in the following manner : About the year 1785, 
those famous old pioneers, John Whitaker and William Taylor, 
constituted a small church on Brashears creek, in Shelby coun- 
ty. But the Indians soon became so troublesome that it ceased 
to meet. Two or three years later, William Hickman, who 
had recently settled at the Forks of Elkhorn in Franklin coun- 
ty, visited the brethren on Brashears Creek, collected them 
again, and preached to them several times. They solicited 
him to settle among them, and when he declined, they desired 
him to send them a preacher. This was just about the time 
that Mr. Morris arrived in Kentucky. There was no preacher 
in what is now Shelby county, at that time. On Mr. Hick- 
man's soHcitation, Mr. Morris visited the church on Brashears 

First Churches Plafited, 25 

Creek, and soon afterwards became its pastor. He labored in 
the gospel about ten years, in Shelby county. During this 
period, he gathered several churches, and among them Elk 
Creek, till recently, one of the largest and most prosperous 
churches in Spencer county. 

From Shelby county, he moved to Nelson, and became a 
member, and the pastor, of Cedar Creek church. He was, at 
this time, about fifty years old, a strong, able-bodied man, 
with a large and varied experience, and was eminently useful 
among the young churches of that region. He preached to 
Mill Creek in Nelson county, and Severns Valley in Hardin, 
and perhaps to some other churches, at different periods, while 
he lived on Cedar Creek. Under his ministry at Severns Val- 
ley, in 1801, a revival prevailed, which resulted in loi additions 
to the church. Among these was the distinguished Isaac Hod- 
gen and three others that became preachers. Mr. Morris died 
at his home in Nelson county, about the year 1837. His was 
a long and eminently useful life, and when, at last, the sum- 
mons came from the Master, he left the walks of men, honored 
and lamented. 

After the death of Mr. Morris, Cedar Creek church had 
frequent changes of pastors ; other churches grew up around it, 
and for a number of years past, it has been rather a weak body. 
Still it has some good members, and it is hoped that the old 
mother of churches will be rejuvinated and become mighty for 
the accomplishment of good, as in the days of yore. 

Gilberts Creek Church was the third organization of the 
kind in Kentucky. Its history is one of thrilling interest, and 
must be traced from its origin in Virginia, where it was born 
amid the throes of a relentless persecution. In order to have a 
clear understanding of its history, it is necessary to glance at 
the early operations of the Baptists in Virginia. 

At the beginning of the zealous labors of the Baptists in 
the colony of Virginia, the Regular Baptists, whose most ac- 
tive preachers were John Garrard, John Alderson and the ais- 
tinguished David Thomas, occupied the northern border, while 
the Separate Baptists, whose first preachers were Shubal 
Stearns, Daniel Marshall, Dutton Lane, James Read, Joseph 
and William Murphy, and the renowned Samuel Harris, occu- 
pied the southern border of Virginia and the contiguous part of 

•26 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

North Carolina. Each of these parties extended its operations 
toward the centre of the State, till they met in Culpeper, 
Orange and Spottsylvania counties. Their labors were greatly 
facilitated by a singular display of the divine favor, of which 
Mr. Semple speaks as follows : 

"It is remarkable, that about the time of the rise of the 
gospel in Virginia, there were multiplied instances of persons, 
who had never heard anything like evangelical preaching, that 
were brought, through divine grace, to see and feel the want of 
vital goodness." Among these was Allen Wyley, a respecta- 
ble citizen of Culpeper county. On becoming awakened to the 
subject of salvation, he began to call his neighbors together at 
his house, read the Bible to them, and exhort them to seek the 
Savior. After this had continued for some time, he accident- 
ally heard of David Thomas, and soon set out to travel sixty 
miles to converse w^th him and hear him preach. On a second 
visit, he was baptized, after which he invited the minister to 
come and preach at his house. But when he reached Mr. Wy- 
ley's the mob had collected, and refused to let him preach in 
the county. However, he went over into Orange county, and 
preached several times. Many persons were awakened, among 
whom were some of Toliver Craig's Household. This occurred 
in 1765. Next year, Mr. Wyley traveled to Pittsylvania coun- 
ty to find Samuel Harris and induce him to come and preach at 
his house. Mr. Harris returned with him, and preached the 
first day after his arrival. But next day when he began to 
preach, the crowd "assailed him with whips and sticks" so vio- 
lently, that he was compelled to desist. He then went over 
into Orange county, where he continued many days, preaching 
to great crowds. Many who had been awakened the year be- 
fore, under the preaching of Mr. Thomas, were converted, as 
■well as others who were alarmed under Mr. Harris' preaching. 
On leaving the young converts, to return home, Mr. Harris 
advised some of them, in whom he discovered gifts, to hold 
meetings. They took his advice, and chose Elijah Craig's 
tobacco barn for their meeting house. Among these unbap- 
tised young preachers were Lewis and Elijah Craig. Some time 
after they commenced their meetings in the tobacco barn, 
David Thomas, who was a man of learning, visited the neigh- 
borhood again, and preached to the young converts, on their 

First Chwrhes Planted. 27 

invitation. In his preaching, he unfortunately spoke against 
such weak, illiterate persons' attempting to teach. The young 
converts took umbrage at this, and determined to send again 
for Mr. Harris to come and preach and baptize. When the 
three messengers, one of whom was Elijah Craig, arrived at 
Mr. Harris', they were surprised to learn that he had not been 
ordained. However, he set out with the messengers, who 
traveled sixty miles farther, into North Carolina, to obtain the 
services of James Read. Mr. Read consented to go with them. 
They arrived in Orange county, and, having sent a messenger 
before them to make an appointment, they found a large crowd 
of people assembled. Messrs. Read and Harris preached 
a number of days, and the former baptized many. David 
Thomas and John Garrard were present on Sabbath. It will 
be remembered that they were both Regular Baptists, while 
Read and Harris were Separate Baptists. The preachers on 
both sides desired to unite in the work, but the people were 
opposed to it, the larger number adhering to the Separates. 
Both parties preached and baptised at the same hour, and near 
together. This widened the breach. From Orange, Read 
and Harris went into Spottsylvania, and, thence, through Han- 
over, Caroline and Goochland counties. So much were they 
encouraged by their success, that they made an appointment to 
return again next year. On fulfilling this appointment, they 
brought Button Lane with them. On this occasion, they con- 
stituted the first Separate Baptist church north of Rappahan- 
nock and James rivers. This took place, Nov. 20, I767. The 
church was called Upper Spottsylvania, and consisted of tweri- 
ty-five members. It was three years without an under shep- 
herd ; but, in November, 1770, Lewis Craig was ordained, and 
became its pastor. 

The Craigs were so conspicuous in gathering the early 
churches, both in Virginia, and Kentucky, that they are en- 
titled to especial notice in this place. Toliver Craig was an 
only child of English parents, and was born in Virginia, about 
the year 17 10. At the age of 22, he married Polly Hawkins, 
and settled in Orange county. This union was blessed with 
seven sons and four daughters. Their names, in the order of 
their ages, beginning with the oldest, were John, Joyce, Lewis, 
Toliver, Elijah, Jane, Joseph, Sally, Benjamin (born March 30, 

28 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

1751^, Jeremiah and Betsy. They all became Baptists, Lewis, 
Elijah and Joseph became preachers, and Betsy married Richard 
Cave, a pioneer preacher in Kentucky. They were probably all 
among the early settlers of Kentucky. 

Lewis Craig was born in Orange county, Va. , about the 
year 1737. He was raised on a farm, receiving a very limited 
education, and, in early life, was married to Betsy Landers. 
He was first awakened to a sense of his guilt and condemnation, 
about the year 1765, under the preaching of Samuel Harris. 
Of his struggles while under conviction, John Taylor says: 
"Mr. Craig's great pressure of guilt induced him to follow the 
preachers from one meeting to another. And when preaching 
ended, he would rise up in tears", and loudly exclaim that he 
was a justly condemned sinner, and with loud voice warn the 
people to fly from the wrath to come, and except they were born 
again, with himself, they would all go down to hell. While 
under his exhortation, the people would weep and cry aloud 
for mercy. In this manner, his ministry began before himself 
had hope of convertion, and after relief came to him, he went 
on preaching a considerable time, befor he was baptized, no 
administrator being near, many being converted under his 
labors. " 

Very soon after Mr. Craig's conversion, and before he was 
baptized, he was indicted by the grand jury, "for holding un- 
lawful conventicles, and preaching the gospel contrary to law." 
When the jurymen by whom he was being tried went to a tav- 
ern for refreshments, he treated them to a bowl of grog, and, 
while they were drinking it, got their attention, and spoke to 
them to the following purport : 

"Gentlemen : I thank you for your attention to me. 
When I was about this courtyard, in all kinds of vanity, folly 
and vice, you took no notice of me ; but when I have forsaken 
all the vices, and am warning men to forsake, and repent of 
their sins, you bring me to the bar as a transgressor. How is 
all this ?" 

Joh}i Waller, who was at this time an exceedingly wicked 
man, was one of the jury. He was so deeply impressed by the 
meekness of Mr. Craig, and the solemnity of his manner, that 
he did not recover from the awful impression until he found 
peace in Jesus, about eight months afterwards. He subse- 

First Churches Planted. 29 

quently became one of the most distinquished Baptist ministers 
of his generation, and, in his turn, endured great persecution, 
"for preaching the gospel contrary to law." Mr. Craig was 
probably prosecuted no farther in this case. 

On the 4th of June, I768, Lewis Craig, John Waller and 
James Childs were seized by the sheriff while engaged in public 
worship, and brought before three magistrates in the meeting 
house yard. They were held to bail in a thousand pounds, to 
appear at court two days afterwards. They were arraigned be- 
fore the court as disturbers of the peace. In his speech, the 
prosecuting attorney said : "May it please your worships, these 
men are great disturbers of the peace ; they cannot meet a man 
on the road, but they must ram a text of scripture down his 
throat." Mr. Waller, who had been educated for the law, de- 
fended himself and his brethren so ingeniously, that the court 
was much puzzled. However, the prisoners were required to 
give security not to preach again in the county, for the period of 
twelve months. This they refused to do, and were committed 
to jail. As they passed along through the streets of Freder- 
icksburg, on their way to prison, they sang the old hymn be- 
ginning : 

"Broad is the road that leads to death." 

A great crowd followed them, and the scene was awfully 
solemn. Tradition has it, that Joseph Craig, a very eccentric 
man, cried out in a stentorian voices: "Arise ye dead and 
come to judgement ! " whereupon many persons dropped down, 
as if pierced through the heart. 

"During their confinment," says J. B. Taylor, "Elder Craig 
preached through the grates to large crowds, and was the 
means of doing much good." Mr. Craig remained in jail a 
month, and was then released. He at once hastened to Will- 
iamsburg, and soon secured the release of his brethren. Their 
imprisonment seems to have increased their zeal, and they 
went forth with renewed energy in their glorious work. 

As has been stated, Mr. Craig was ordained to the pastor- 
al office, in November, 1770. But this did not prevent his 
preaching abundantly in all the surrounding country. In 1771, 
he was arrested in Caroline county, where he was committed to 
prison and remained in jail three months. Before he left Vir- 
ginia, he was instrumental in gathering at least three churches 

30 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

in Dover Association — Tuckahoe, Upper King & Queen, and 
Essex. During a revival in Upper Spottsylvania, in 1776, 
over one hundred were added to its membership. This church 
prospered as long as Mr. Craig remained with it in its first lo- 
cation. But the time now drew near when the Lord of the 
harvest would send him to a new field of labor among the dark 
wide forests of the great wilderness beyond the mountains. He 
was now in the vigor and strength of manhood — a little under 
45 years of age. He had been fourteen years in the ministry, 
had enjoyed extraordinary success, and had had a wider and 
more varied experience than most men have in a life-time. 

Mr. Craig continued to serve Upper Spottsylvania church 
as pastor, till 1781, when he moved to Kentucky. So strong- 
ly was the church attached to him, that most of its member 
came with him, At exactly what time in the fall they started 
has not been ascertained. But Mr. Craig was on the Hol- 
sten river on the road leading from his former home, by way 
of Cumberland Gap, to his destination in Kentucky, on the 28th 
of September, 1781 ; for on that day, he aided in constituting a 
church at that point, then the extreme western settlement in 

Dr S. H. Ford, in the CJiristian Repository of March, 1856, 
says of Craig and his traveling charge : "About the ist of De- 
cember, they passed the Cumberland Gap, . . . and on the 
second Lord's day in December, 1781, they had arrived in 
Lincoln (now Garrard Co.), and met as a Baptist church of 
Christ at Gilberts Creek. Old William Marshall preached to 
them, with their pastor, the first Sunday after their arrival." 
John Taylor, in a biographical sketch of Lewis Craig, says: "I 
think he moved to Kentucky in the fall of 178 1." Dr. J. B. 
Taylor, another of his biographers, says : "It has already been 
stated that in 1781, he removed to the West ;" and Dr. R. B. 
Semple, in his history of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists 
in Virginia [p. 153], says: "But, in 1781, tothegreat mortifi- 
cation of the remaining members, Mr. Craig with most of the 
church, moved to Kentucky." 

There seems to be no disagreement among the historians of 
the period as to when Gilberts Creek church was located in 
Kentucky. Some modern writers have been misled by As- 
plund's Register of the Baptists in America, for 1790, which 

First Churches Planted. 31 

records the name of a Gilbert's Creek church, constituted in 
1783, in the same locaHty. But this was a Separate Baptist 
church, gathered at the date specified, by Joseph Bledsoe. 
The original Gilberts Creek church had been dissolved, as we 
shall presently see, several years before Asplund's Register 
was published. 

This ancient church had but a brief history in Kentucky. 
Dr. Ford thinks it numbered about 200 members when it was 
first organized on Gilberts creek. It continued to prosper un- 
der the care of Mr. Craig, till 1783, when he and most of the 
members moved across Kentucky river, and formed South Elk- 
horn church. The old organization continued to diminish in 
consequence of the removal of its members to the north side of 
the river. After the removal of Mr. Craig, George Stokes 
Smith and John Taylor were among its members, and supplied 
it with preaching, for a time. But these ministers also moved 
to the north side of the river, and left the church in a state of 
destitution. In its enfeebled condition, it entered into the con- 
stitution of Elkhorn Association, in September, 1785, and re- 
quested that body to send a committee to look into its standing. 
The request was granted, and a committee, consisting of "Lewis 
Craig, James Rucker, Wm. Hickman and Wm. Cave, or any 
three of them, " was appointed to visit the church. At the 
meeting of the Association, in August, 1786, "the committee 
on Gilberts Creek church, reported that it was dissolved." 

Immediately after moving to Fayette county, in 1783, Mr. 
Craig gathered South Elkhorn church, and was chosen its pas- 
tor. He occupied this position, about nine years, laboring ab- 
undantly in all the surrounding country. During this period, 
Elkhorn Association was formed, and many other preachers 
moved to that region of the country. Feeling that his labors 
were not needed here, and probably being somewhat morti- 
fied by the loss of his property through some unfortunate land 
speculation, he moved to what is Bracken country, about 1792, 
and "was in a manner the father of Bracken Association." 
John Taylor closes his biography of Lewis Craig in the for 
lowing language : 

"As an expositor of the Scriptures, he was not very skillful, 
but dealt closely with the heart. He wasbetteracquainted with 
men than with books. He never dwelt much on doctrine, but 

32 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

mostly on experimental and practical godliness. Though he 
was not called a great preacher, perhaps there was never found 
in Keniucky, so great a gift of exhortation as in Lewis Craig: 
The sound of his voice would make men tremble and rejoice. 
The first time I heard him preach, I seemed to hear the sound 
of his voice for many months. He was of middle statue, rather 
stoop shouldered, his hair black, thick set, and somewhat 
curled, a pleasant countenance, free spoken, and his company 
very interesting, a great peace maker among contending 
parties. He died suddenly, of which he was forewarned, saying, 
I am going to such a house to die, and, with solemn joy, went 
on to the place, and, with little pain, left the world." 



At the beginning of the year 1782, the Baptists had three 
churches in Kentucky : Severns Valley in Hardin county, 
Cedar Creek in Nelson, and Gilbert's Creek in Garrard. They 
were all of the Regular Baptist order. The Regular Baptist 
preachers in the new country, as far as known, were Barnett, 
Gerrard, Whitakcr, Marshall, Lewis Craig, and, most probably, 
Richard Cave and George Stokes Smith. All these, except 
Barnett and Gerrard, had been Separate Baptists in Virginia; 
but for some unknown reason they had changed their party 
name, there being little else to change, at that time, in order to 
their becoming Regular Baptists. Lynn and Skaggs were the 
only Separate Baptist preachers now known to have been in the 
country at that time, and, as yet they had formed no church 
The evangelical labors of the year, therefore, were begun by 
three churches and nine preachers. There were, at most, only 
two churches gathered during the year, and both of these Separ- 
ate Baptists. Probably it would be better to say that these 
churches claim, with some plausibility, to have been constituted 
in 1782, than to assert it as a historic fact. 

South Fork church, originally called No-Lynn, was, ac- 
cording to tradition, constituted in what is now La Rue county, 
in the summer of 1782, by Benjamin Lynn and James Skaggs. 
The late venerable Elder John Duncan took much pains to learn 
the history of the church, and had conversations with at least 
two men who claimed to have been present when it was consti- 
tiited. I'hey stated that Lynn had been preaching in the 
neighborhood for some considerable time, and several persons 
had professed conversion. The church was constituted under 
the boughs of a large oak tree, where it continued to meet the 
remainder of the summer. Immediately after the organization 
was effected the church sat to hear experiences. Seven persons 


34 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

were approved for baptism. The times were troublous. It 
had been only a few weeks since the supposed massacre of Elder 
John Gerrard, in an adjoining neighborhood, and the Indians 
were now lurking in the surrounding forests. The candidates 
for the sacred ordinance were guarded to the water by armed 
citizens, and baptized by Elder Lynn, in No-Lynn [now spelt 
Nolin] river. If this account be true, it is probable that these 
were the first persons baptized in Kentucky. 

This church first united with old South Kentucky Associa- 
tion, but, in 1797, it assumed the style of Regular Baptists, and 
afterwards became a member of the Green River fraternity. It 
was one of the few Baptist churches, in which the "jerks" and 
other extravagances prevailed during the great revival of 1800- 
3. It was subsequently divided on the subject of slavery. But 
a reconciliation being effected, it became very prosperous, under 
the ministry of William M. Brown. It is at present one of the 
largest churches in Lynn Association. Among the few preach- 
ers it has raised up was John Hodgen, a brother of the famous 
Isaac Hodgen, 

Forks of Dix River church is located in Garrard county. 
Its early history is obscure. Asplund dates its constitution in 
1786, and is followed by Benedict. In the minutes of South 
District Association of 1844, the date of its constitution is put 
down at 1782. Its first book of records has been destroyed, 
but its second book, which commenced in 1805, states that the 
church was constituted by Lewis Craig, in 1782. In a manu- 
script biography of Randolph Hall, its first known pastor, 
written by his successor, John S. Higgins, it is stated that Mr. 
Hall "took the care of Forks of Dix River church shortly after 
its constitution, which was in 1782." In amanuscript biography 
of Burdett Kemper written during his lifetime, by his son who 
was clerk of the church, the following passage occurs: "The 
Forks [of Dix River] church, to which Father Kemper still 
preaches, was constituted by Lewis Craig, in 1782, and has 
never had but three pastors, viz : Randolph Hall, John S. 
Higgins, and Burdett Kemper." The preponderance of evid- 
ence appears to favor 1782, as the true date of the church's 
constitution, and if this be correct it must have been consti- 
tuted a Regular Baptist church. But its first associational 
connection was with South Kentucky Association, which was 

First Churches Planted. 35 

constituted in 1787. In 1786, a "request for help from a 
number of Baptists at or near the Forks of Dix river was read" 
before Elkhorn Association, "and Ambrose Dudley, John 
Tanner, Benj. Craig and Bartlet Collins were appointed to 
attend a meeting there the fourth Saturday in August." 
This indicates that there was no Regular Baptist church there 
at that period. If one had been constituted there by Lewis 
Craig, in 1782, it had either dissolved, or, what is more pro- 
bable, a majority of its members had given their adhesion to 
the Separate Baptists, and the minority, holding to the Regular 
Baptists, had petitioned Elkhorn Association for help. How- 
ever this may be. Forks of Dix River church entered into the 
constitution of South Kentucky Association, in 1787, and 
there remained till 1793, when it entered into the constitution 
of Tate's Creek Association. James Smith was a preacher in 
the church, in iTpO, at which time it numbered 58 members. 
After the organization of South District Association, in 1802, 
the church joined that fraternity, of which it is still a member. 
It has long been one of the largest and most prosperous church- 
es in its Association. 

The Forks of Dix River was a preaching place for the 
Presbyterians, as early as 1784, the next year after David 
Rice, the pioneer minister of that denomination in Kentucky, 
arrived in the country, and it is believed that they and the 
Baptists worshipped in the same house for a few years ; after 
which the Presbyterians abandoned the station. James Smith 
and Joseph and William Bledsoe, [Separate Baptist preachers, 
located in Garrard county, about 1783, and it is probable that 
through their influence the Forks church was converted to the 
Separate Baptists. 

Randolph Hall, probably the first pastor of Forks of 
Dix River church, was a Virginian, and took an active part in 
the Revolutionary War, whether as a chaplain, or a soldier, or 
both, is not known. He came to Kentucky with the flood of 
emigration which poured into the western country at the close i 
of the War, but at exactly what date, is not known. "He was 
a good solid, preacher," of a warm impressive address, and exer- 
cised an extensive influence within the bounds of South District 
Association, of which he was moderator many years. He was 
instrumental in gathering Sugar Creek church in Garrard coun- 

36 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

ty, in 1801, to which, and to Stony Point in Mercer county, 
he preached for a number of years, He was no less distinguish- 
ed for piety, than for his faithful and successful labors. After 
a long and useful life, the prime of which was spent, first in 
battling for the liberties of his country, and afterwards amidst 
the dangers of savage warfare, he died of an attack of epilepsy, 
to which he was subject, in the year 1821, aged about 70 years. 

John S. Higgins was the second pastor of Forks of Dix 
River church. He was born in New Jersey, Dec. 29, 1789. 
In 1805 he emigrated with his parents to Ohio, and, five years 
later, to Woodford county, Kentucky. He was baptized by 
Edmund Waller, in 18 13, and commenced exhorting a few 
weeks afterwards. Being impressed with a call to preach the 
gospel, he attended a grammar school in Fayette county, that 
he might be the better prepared for that work. He moved to 
Lincoln county, in 181 5, and, on December 27th of that year, 
was ordained to the pastoral care of McCormack's church, by 
John Rice and David Thurman. About the same time, he was 
called to the care of Hanging Fork (now New Providence) 
church, to which he ministered with good success about twenty 
years. At this place he baptized Strother Cook, who became 
a useful preacher. In 1820 he was called to succeed the vener- 
able Randolph Hall in the pastoral care of Forks of Dix River 
church, to which he ministered about nineteen years. Here he 
baptized Burdett Kemper, who succeeded him in the pastoral 
care of that church, and John L. Smith who has attained con- 
siderable eminence in the gospel ministry. 

John S. Higgins was a man of eminent respectability. He 
was not only successful in his pastoral labors, but preached 
abundantly in all the surrounding country. Among the 
churches he gathered was that in Danville, to which he minist- 
ered until it could secure a pastor. He resided on a farm, and, 
by industry and economy, acquired a comfortable property. 
He was twice married, and raised a large and respectable family. 
At the age of four score years, he died at his home in Lincoln 
county, surrounded by an affectionate family, in 1872. 

Burdett Kemper was of German extraction, his grand- 
father, Frederick Kemper, having been a native of Germany. 
His parents, Thomas and Judith Kemper, were natives of Vir- 
ginia, and were among the pioneers of Kentucky. He was 

First Churches Planted, 37 

born in Garrard Co., Ky., Feb. 24, 1788, and was raiseo up on 
a farm, receiving the elements of a common school education. 
Under the teaching of a pious mother, he had an excellent 
moral and religious training. In his 30th year he married 
Jemima, daughter of Judge James Thompson, of his native 
county. He possessed a remarkably strong body, and a strong 
practical mind, and, in a measure, made up the deficiency of 
his early education by application to books in his maturer years. 
Meanwhile, his good business habits enabled him to acquire a 
fair property. He had reached mid-life when, in March, 1830, 
he and his wife professed religion, and were baptized for the 
fellowship of Forks of Dix River church, by John S. Higgins. 
Within a year after his baptism, he began to exercise in ex- 
hortation, and was ordained to the ministry, in 1833, by John 
S. Higgins, John Rice and PMmund Waller. During the same 
year, he accepted an invitation to preach once a month to Forks 
of Dix River church, and, upon the resignation of Mr. Higgins, 
in 1839, became pastor of that congregation, a position he con- 
tinued to occupy till the close of his earthly career. 

During his ministry, Mr. Kemper was, at different periods, 
pastor of the following churches, besides the one of which he 
was a member: Sugar Creek, Gilberts Creek, Buckeye, Free- 
dom, Shawnee Run, Friendship, Hillsboro and Logans Creek. 
To all these, it is said, he ministered acceptably and success- 
fully. But his greatest success was in old Forks of Dix River 
church. When he began to preach to this congregation, 
Campbellism was in its belligerant state, was devastating the 
churches in this region of the State as a tornado sweeps away 
the forest in its track. Nearly all the old churches were weak- 
ened and disordered, and many of them were utterly destroyed. 
The "Forks" church received little or no injury, although 
assailed with persistent vehemence, and with every species of 
available weapons, however unscrupulous. Mr. Kemper met 
the heresy with unyielding firmness and much practical wis- 
dom. At one time a squad of Campbellites came to interrupt 
public worship. They collected together, and, after Mr. Kem- 
per commenced his discourse, began to make sport of the ex- 
ercises. The speaker paused till the attention of the audience 
was directed to the disturbers, and pointing towards them said : 
"Look! and behold Campbellism in its full bloom!" The 

38 Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. 

recreants fled from the house, and abandoned the field. Under 
the firm and wise administration of this excellent pastor, the 
church continued to prosper till it numbered over 500 members. 
Mr. Kemper continued his active labors in the ministry to 
an extreme old age. Few men in his region of the State have 
enjoyed a higher reputation for all that is excellent in the 
christian and useful in the ministry. He was moderator of 
South District Association twenty -five years. When his work 
was done, the Lord called him to his reward, March 18, 1876. 
At the time of his death " Forks" church numbered 319 mem- 
bers. It is still (1885) one of the largest of the cen*:ury-old 
churches in the State. It is, at present, under the pastoral 
care of that excellent minister, Thos. M. Vaughan. 



At the beginning of the year 1783, there were in Ken- 
tucky only five churches and eight preachers. Gerrard hav- 
ing been massacred by the Indians, the spring before. The 
year just closed had been fraught with many dangers, trials 
and sorrows. One preacher, out of nine, had fallen a victim 
to savage barbarity, and many other settlers of the country 
had perished in the same manner. The imigrants had been 
compelled to remain in forts most of the summer, so that they 
had raised but little grain, and now set in the winter, always 
dreary enough to the poor, but doubly gloomy when the snow 
covers the fresh graves of murdered husbands and fathers. 
Many poor widows and orphans, hundreds of miles from all 
their old friends and surrounded by an almost boundless wil- 
derness, every acre of which teemed with deadly danger, were 
weeping and shivering in rude log cabins in Kentucky. How 
much they needed the comforts of a holy religion, to encour- 
age them amid their deep despondency. But God had not for- 
gotten his little ones. He sent strong, brave men, with hearts 
full of love and faith, who were ready to dare every danger, to 
pray in the rude cabins of weak and timid christians, to cheer 
and encourage despairing mourners, and to warn reckless sin- 
ners of their awful danger. Marshall, Craig, Cave, Smith, 
Barnett, Whitaker and Lynn had been tried in the relentless 
fires of persecution and purified as silver. Inured to hard- 
ships and dangers, they had lost the sense of earthly fear, and 
were prepared to surmount every difficulty, that they might 
gather into folds Christ's scattered sheep, and feed them with 
the bread of life. They were traversing the wilderness in search 
of the straying lambs, and calling them together to partake 


40 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

again of the heavenly feast of love and fellowship, which they 
had so sweetly enjoyed in the now far away churches of their 
native land. The efforts of these Godly ministers were blessed, 
and three more churches were added to the number in Kentucky, 
during the year. 

Gilberts Creek church of Separate Baptists was gathered 
by Joseph Bledsoe, in what is now Garrard county. There has 
been some confusion in the popular mind concerning the history 
of this church, caused by confounding it with Gilberts Creek 
church of Regular Baptists. The latter, as we have already 
seen, was organized by Lewis Craig and others, in December, 
1781 ; the former was gathered by Joseph Bledsoe, as we shall 
presently see, in 1783. Asplund and Benedict both date its 
constitution in that year. John Taylor, who was a member of 
the Regular Baptist church on Gilberts Creek, during the 
winter of 1783-4, says: "Just before I got to Kentucky (in 
1780) Craig, with a number of others, had left Gilberts Creek, 
and moved to South Elkhorn and set up a church there. The 
remnant left of Gilberts Creek kept up order ; it was this rem- 
nant I united with. Among them was George Smith, com- 
monly called Stokes Smith, a valuable preacher ; Richard Cave, 
then an ordained minister, William Cave, who afterwards be- 
came a very good preacher, and many other valuable mem- 
bers. Soon after, George Stokes Smith and chief of the mem- 
bers at Gilberts Creek also moved to the north side of Ken- 
tucky ; and a Separate Baptist church being set up at Gilberts 
Creek, by Joseph Bledsoe, the old church became dissolved, 
and the Separate Baptists chiefly took possession of the south 
side of the Kentucky river." In another place, Mr. Taylor 
says: "The church I have been writing of, at Gilberts Creek, 
was swallowed up, partly by Craig's members moving away, 
and partly by a Separate church settling there under the care 
of old Mr. Joseph Bledsoe, and, though the old gentleman is 
dead, it seems the church yet exists." 

This testimony is sufficiently conclusive. The present 
Gilberts Creek church was constituted in 1783, and was one of 
the churches that formed South Kentucky Association of Sep- 
arate Baptists, in 1787. It entered into the general uniori of 
the Separate and Regular Baptists, in 1801, but soon after- 
wards went off with a faction headed by John Bailey and 

Churches Planted in 1783. 41 

Thomeis J. Chilton, again assuming the name of Separate Bap- 
lists. It returned to the United Baptists, in 1845, Among 
the many pastors who have served this church, may be named 
Joseph Bledsoe, Michael Dillingham, John Bailey, Thomas J. 
Chilton, Thomas Chilton, Absalom Quinn, Jesse C. Portman, 
John G. Pond and Burdett Kemper. Quinn and Pond were 
ordained in this church. During the year 1828, 10 1 were ad- 
ded to its membership, and, in 1837, '^ received 37 additons. 
It was long a prosperous body, but for a number of years past, 
it has been declining. It is now without a house of worship, 
and only has a name to live. 

Joseph Bledsoe was the founder and first pastor of this 
church. As early as 1778, he was associated with Ambrose 
Dudley and Lewis Craig in gathering Wilderness church in 
Spottsylvania County, Virginia. Of this congregation he was 
chosen the first pastor. But ' 'they were not happy under his 
care," and he resigned his charge to move to Kentucky, where 
we find him pastor of Gilberts Creek church, in 1783. He 
was an old man at that time, and probably remained in charge 
of this congregation until his death. His brother, Aaron Bled- 
soe, was a Baptist preacher in Virginia, his son William was a 
Baptist preacher of more talent than piety, in Kentucky, and 
his son Jesse was a prominent lawyer and a politician of the 
last named State, and was two years in the United States Sen- 
ate, and several years judge of the circuit court. Another 
Bledsoe, named Moses, was a Baptist preacher in Kentucky. 
Many of the family possessed brilliant talents, but they were 
generally unstable and erratic. 

"South Elkhorn, not far from Lexington," says John 
Taylor, "was the fourth church in which I had my membership. 
This was the first worshiping congregation, of any kind, or- 
ganized on the north side of the Kentucky river, and early in 
the fall of 1783." This church was gathered by Lewis Craig, 
and was constituted principally of members who had belonged 
to Upper Spottsylvania church in Virginia, had emigrated with 
Mr. Craig to Kentucky, in 1781, and had again followed him 
from Gilberts Creek to South Elkhorn in Fayette county. In 
organizing this church, Mr. Craig doubtless had the assistance 
of George Stokes Smith and Richard Cave, who were still 

members of the first Gilberts Creek church. In the summer of 

42 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

1/85, these preachers and most of the other members of Gil- 
berts Creek church moved to the north side of Kentucky 
river, and united with the new organization. John Taylor moved 
to Kentucky, in 1783, just after South Elkhorn church was 
constituted; and, settling at Lewis Craig's station in Garrard 
county took membership in Gilberts Creek church. But, in 
the summer of 1784, he moved to what is now Woodford 
county, and joined South Elkhorn church. William Hickman, 
John Dupuy, and James Rucker, having moved to the new 
country, also united with this church, in 1785. There were 
now seven preachers within the bounds of the church: viz., 
Craig, Cave, Dupuy, Hickman, Rucker, Smith and Taylor, 
Four of them, however, went into the constitution of a new 
church, on Clear Creek in Woodford county, early in that 

Down to the period now under consideration, there had 
been no baptism in Kentucky, so far as our knowledge ex- 
tends, if we except the traditional account of that performed 
by Benjamin Lynn, in 1782. But very early in the year 1785, 
a revival spirit began to be manifested among some members of 
South Elkhorn church, who had made a settlement on Clear 
Creek in Woodford county. This work began under the min- 
istry of John Taylor, and continued to spread over the exten- 
sive territory of the church till large numbers were baptized. 
Among- them were four of William Hickman's children. At 
least two preachers, William Hickman, jr. and Warren Cash, 
were fruits of this revival. The results of this work of grace, 
together with a large imigration, so increased the membership 
of the church, that it was deemed expedient to send out a 
colony. Accordingly Clear Creek church was constituted, 
while the revival yet prevailed. 

Lewis Craig was chosen pastor of South Elkhorn church, 
at the time of its constitution, and under his ministry, it con- 
tinued to prosper, till about 1792, when he resigned, and mov- 
ed to Bracken county, recommending John Shackleford as his 
successor. Mr. Shackleford was immediately called to fill the 
position. Under his ministry the church continued to enjoy 
great prosperity, about thirty years. During this period many 
extensive revivals occured in the church, in one of which 309 
were baptized for its fellowship, during the year I801. Again 

Churches Planted in 1783. 43. 

about the year 18 17, near 2oo were added to it, during one 
winter. A few years after this, the buddings of Campbellism 
began to appear in the church, and soon produced a schism. 
The majority was ministered to by the two Creaths, who ulti- 
mately led it off with the Campbellitc schism. The minority 
continued under the care of the old pastor, till his death, in 
1829. After this, it gradually diminished, till it became ex" 

From this fruitful nursery, went out many colonies to 
form other churches which are still large and flourishing 
bodies. But old South Elkhorn, ' 'in a manner the mother of 
all the churches north of Kentucky River," and owner of the 
first house of worship in that eJctensive territory, was long 
since dissolved. Yet will she be remembered, and her name 
will be venerated as long as the Baptists of Kentucky shall 
preserve their history. Another church has risen near her an- 
cient site, and taken her venerated name. 

John Shacklefokd was born in Caroline county, Va. in 
1750. He commenced his ministry at about the age of 22 
years, and was a zealous laborer in the Vineyard of the Lord, 
about six years, before he was ordained. During this period 
he was honored with a term in Essex county jail. Of this af- 
fair, Mr. Semple gives the following account : 

"On March 13, 1774, the day on which Piscataway 
church was constituted, a warrant was issued to apprehend all 
the Baptist preachers that were at meeting. Accordingly, 
John Waller, John Shackleford, Robert Ware and Ivison Lew- 
is were taken and carried before a magistrate. Ivison Lewis 
was dismissed, not having preached in the county ; the other 
three were sent to prison. It appears from Mr. Waller's jour- 
nals, which we have before us, that while in prison, God per- 
mitted them to pass through divers fiery trials ; their minds, 
for a season, being greatly harrassed by the enemy of souls. 
They however, from first to last of their imprisonment, 
preached twice a week, gave much godly advice to such as 
came to visit them, read a great deal, and prayed almost with- 
out ceasing. In their stated devotion, morning, noon and 
night, they were often joined by others. They continued in 
close confinement from the i3th to the 21st of March, whiclv 
was court day ; being brought to trial, they were required to 

44 History of Kentneky Baptists. 

give bond and security for their good behavior for twelve 
months, or go -back to prison. Ware and Shackleford gave 
bond and went home ; Waller being always doubtful of the 
propriety of giving any bond whatever, determined to go back 
to jail." Mr. Waller remained in jail fourteen days longer, and 
was then released. 

Soon after this imprisonment, Mr. Shackleford was or- 
dained to the care of a small church which had been gathered 
by Lewis Craig, under the name of Tuckahoe, in Caroline 
county. In 1788, this church " had a revival. It was a 
memorable time indeed," says Mr. Semple, "not only in this 
church, but almost throughout the state of Virginia. In the 
course of this divine season, Mr. Shackleford baptized about 
three hundred. " In addition to his pastoral work, he labored 
much, according to the custom of the time, among the desti- 
tute, and, like other Baptist preachers at that period, endured 
much persecution. 

In 1792 Mr. Shackleford moved to Kentucky, just at the 
time Mr. Craig resigned the charge of South Elkhorn church, 
and was immediately called to succeed his early colaborer and 
fellow-sufferer. To South Elkorn church he ministered about 
37 years, including the most stormy period of the history of 
Kentucky Baptists. The first trouble he experienced in his 
pastoral relation at south Elkhorn grew out of a personal diffi- 
culty between Elijah Craig and Jacob Creath, sr. This conten- 
sion was long continued, and finally involved the whole of 
''Elkhorn Association and produced a division in that fraternity. 
A result of this unfortunate quarrel was the formation of Lick- 
ing Association of Particular Baptists. Mr. Shackleford iden- 
tified himself with the Craig party, and about one-fourth of his 
church adhered to him, and entered with him into Licking As- 
sociation. The majority, under the ministry of the Creaths, 
ultimately went off with the Campbellites. The minority 
withered, and was finally dissolved. The evening of Mr. 
Shackleford's life was rendered uncomfortable by these painful 
divisions. But the grace of God, that, in his youth, support- 
ed him in fiery persecutions, also upheld him in his old age; he 
died in the triumph of the christian's hope, in 1829, in his 79th 
year. He was probably the last of that noble band of preachers 
who were confined in Virginia jails for preaching the gospel. 

Chufches Planted in 1783. 45 

Providence church was the third and last to occupy a place 
on Kentucky soil, in 1 783. Like the first Gilberts Creek church, it 
was organized in Virginia, and moved to Kentucky in a church 
capacity. The following traditionary account of its origin is 
from the pen of A. G. Bush, a descendant of Capt. Wm. Bush, 
and, for many }'ears past, clerk of Providence church : 

"Daniel Boone, on his second trip to Kentucky, was ac- 
companied by Capt. Wm. Bush of Orange county, Virginia. 
Capt. Bush on his return, gave such a glowing description of 
the wilds of Kentucky, that a colony, composed mainly of Bap- 
tists, was induced to start to Boonesboro' on the Kentucky River. 
Capt. Bush went forward to locate lands, while the colony was 
preparing to start. As soon as the preparations were fin- 
ished, they set out, and proceeded as far as the Holston, arriv- 
ing at that point, in December, I780. Here they received in 
telligence from Capt. Bush, who was then in the fort, not to pro- 
ceed any farther, as the Indians were very troublesome at that 
time. " 

The following extract is copied literally from the Book of 
Records of Providence church : "A company of Baptists came 
from the older parts of Virginia to Holson River, in December 
1780 .... Robert Elkin minister and John Vivian elder, 
and in January, 178I, they, with other Baptists, formed them- 
selves a body, in order to carry on church discipline, and, in 
September the 28th, 1781, became constituted by Lewis Cragg 
and John Vivian, with the members: to wit" [here follows a 
list of 42 names.] Robert Elkin who was a minister in the col- 
ony on the Holston, and is spoken of as one of the company 
of Baptists that came from the older parts of Virginia, 
seems to have had nothing to do in the matter. His name does 
not appear, either as one of the constituting presbytery, or in 
the list of members that entered into the constitution. This 
probably originated from his being a Regular Baptist, while the 
church was a Separate Baptist organization. This may also ac- 
count for the delay in constituting the church. John Vivian 
was not a minister, but merely an elder, an officer with a very 
illy defined office, that some Baptist churches recognized at 
that period. Lewis Craig, (sometimes improperly spelt Cragg) 
was at this time, a Separate Baptist minister, and was now on his 
journey to Kentucky, as known circumstances sufficiently prove, 

46 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

with the church that settled on Gilberts Creek, in December of 
that year. 

At what time Robert Elkin united with the church on 
Holston, or became its pastor, the Record does not state. The 
church remained on the Holston "till the first day of September 
1783. Then a principle part of the members, with their minis- 
ter being about to move to Kentucky, it was agreed they should 
carry the constitution with them." "And now having arrived 
in Kentucky, and settling on the south side of the River," con- 
tinues the Record "near Craggs station, but, through the bad- 
ness of the weather and our scattered situation, nothing of im- 
portance was done till April 3d, 1784." "Through a turn of 
God's providence, the church chiefly moved to the north side 
of Kentucky, and, for the health and prosperity of zion, we 
have appointed a church meeting at bro. William Bushe's Nov, 
27th [1784.]" This was the first meeting of the church on the 
North Side of Kentucky river. Here it located on a small 
stream called Howard Creek, in what is now Clark county, and 
about three miles from Boonesboro : 

In 1785, James Ouesenberr\', an ordained minister from 
Virginia, joined the church, and in January of the next year, 
Andrew Tribble, also a minister from the same State, became one 
of its members. About this time a Revival commenced in the 
church, and continued nearly two years. During this period, a 
considerable number was baptized, of whom were Christopher 

* Harris. Squire Boone, jr. and James Haggard, who became 
preachers. In 178?, the church entered into the constitution of 
South Kentucky Association. In 1790, another Revival visited 
the church, and many were baptized, among whom was Edward 
Kindred, who became a good preacher. The church had now 
become quite large. But during this year a difficulty between 
Robert Elkin and Andrew Tribble caused a division in the body. 
By the advice of Elders John Bailey, Joseph and William Bled- 
soe and others, the Elkin party retained the church constitution 
but changed its name from Howards Creek to Providence ; while 
the Tribble party was constituted under the style of Unity 
church. The two churches agreed to live in fellowship. 

After the division, Providence church continued to pros- 

• per, under the care of Mr. Elkin, till 1822, when the faithful old 
shepherd was called to his final reward. Since that time the 

Churches Planted i)i Vi'?)'^. 47 

church seems n^ver to have been able to obtain and retain a 
suitable pastor; for, between 1822 and 1876, it made no less 
than nineteen pastoral changes. But despite this unfavorable 
circumstance, it has been a prosperous body during its entire 
history, and is now a leading member of Boones Creek Associ- 
ation. It continued a Separate Baptist church till 1801, when 
the terms of general union between the Regulars and Separates 
were ratified at its house of worship. After that it belonged 
to the old North District confederacy for a number of years, 
and finally united with Boones Creek Association. Many 
prominent citizen of the county have been among its members, 
and most of the Bushes, Haggards, Quesenberrys and Elkins, 
in the state, and multitudes of them in the great West, are de- 
scendants of the fathers of this famous old church. 

Robert Elkins, the first pastor of Providence church, was 
the first minister that settled in what is now Clark county. Of 
his early life little is known, except that he was born and raised 
in Virginia, and was "born again" at a place called Cheeks 
Cross-roads. He came with a colony from the older settle- 
ments of Virginia to that on Holston river, in 1780, and appears 
to have been the only preacher at the latter place, at that period. 
Here a church was constituted, in 1781, and he became its pas- 
tor. Two years later he came with his church to Kentucky, and, 
in 1784, settled in Clark county, where he continued to minister 
to Providence church till a short time before his death, which 
occurred in March, 1822. He was regarded a good, plain, 
solid preacher and an excellent disciplinarian. Most of his 
ministerial labors were devoted to his pastoral charge, and, 
hence he did not acquire the reputation of being a "traveling 
preacher." This may have been caused by the fact that "he 
was twice married, and raised twenty-two children, most of 
whom raised large families in turn." 



The winter of 1783-4 was a very severe one. The wea- 
ther was bitter cold, and a deep snow covered the earth for 
many weeks. The settlers in the dreary wilderness lived in 
small, rudely constructed cabins and tents covered with the bark 
of fallen trees. Their supply of clothing was scant and of a qua- 
lity that illy protected them against piercing winds and driving 
snow. Much suffering was inevitable. But the severity of the 
season brought with it at least one inestimable blessing : It pre- 
vented the inroads of the Indians, and thus gave the settlers a 
sense of security against their most dreaded ill. With this 
sense of security, they were able to give attention to necessary 
work, and occasionally assemble in each others cabins to wor- 
ship God. 

In describing his own situation, John Taylor, who was by 
no means among the poorest of the settlers, gives some idea of 
the condition and surroundings of the people in Kentucky at 
that period. Mr. Taylor moved to Kentucky in the fall of 
1783, and stopped during the winter, in what is now Garrard 
county. He speaks of his removal from Garrard to Woodford 
county, in the following language : "I moved in the summer 
of 1784, and, rather than go in the fort, settled on my own 
land, with no family between me and the Indian towns, ahd in 
the height of war. " "For some time we had to pack corn forty 
miles, and then send a mile to grind at a hand mill, before we 
could get bread. As to meat, it must come from the woods. " 
"Soon after I settled in my little cabin, sixteen feet square, 
with no floor but the natural earth, without table, bedstead or 
stool. I found that an old buck had his lodge a few hundred 
steps from my cabin, among the nettles, high as a man's 
shoulders, and interlocked with pea vines. We found those 
nettles very useful the next winter, in getting the lint, and, 


Gloomy State of Affairs i7i 1784. 49 

with the help of Buffalo wool, made good clothing- for our black 
people." Thus situated, the people were compelled to use 
much dilligence and industry to keep from actual want. 

The religious affairs of the people were in no better condi- 
tion than their temporal concerns. At the beginning of the 
year 1784, there were but eighi" small churches in the whole of 
Kentucky, and not one house of worship. There were minis- 
ters enough to supply the people with preaching, if they could 
have given themselves wholly to their sacred calling. But they 
were compelled to support their families, just as did the other 
settlers, and could, therefore, only give their spare hours to 
reading the Bible, and to the ministry of the word. Even 
professors of religion appeared to have lost all interest in spiritu- 
al things. Speaking of this period, John Taylor says : "Em- 
barrassed as my worldly circumstances were, the face of things, 
as to religion, gavemic more pain of mind. There were a num- 
ber of Baptists scattered, but we all seemed cold as death. 
Everybody had so much to do, that religion was scarcely 
talked of, even on Sundays. All our meetings seemed only the 
name of the thing, with but little of the spirit of devotion." 

It had been more than eight years since the first settle- 
ment had been made in the country. Forts and stations Iiad 
now been erected and surrounded by cabins, from Craborchard, 
Boonesboro and Lexington, to the Falls of Ohio and the present 
site of Elizabethtown, and there must have been between 
20,000 and 30,000 people in the country, an average propor- 
tion of whom had been church members. There were at least 
sixteen Baptist preachers and one Presbyterian minister among 
the settlers. But only a few had gathered into the eight small 
Baptist churches which have been spoken of, and there was no 
church of any other denomination in the country. There had 
been nothing like a religious revival, of which we have any 
authentic account, in any one of the settlements. The church- 
es had been built up exclusively of persons who had been 
church members before their emigration to the West. It is 
not known that a single baptism had been administered in any 
of the waters of Kentucky, the account of Lynn's having bap- 
tized seven persons in Nohn river, in 1782, being purely tradi- 
tional. The religious condition of the country was deplorable 
indeed. Old church members had become dull and lifeless in 

5o Histofy of Ke7itiicky Baptists. - . 

religion, the younger ones had become more or less reckless, 
and the faithful old heralds of the cross had become gloomy 
and despondent. John Taylor says : "Kentucky felt to me 
now as the quails did to the Hebrews, when they eat them till 
they were loathsome and returned back through their noses." 
- David Rice, a Presbyterian minister, who had previously 
visited the countiy, moved to Kentucky, in October, 1783. 
Speaking of the Presbyterians, who were quite numerous in the 
country, he says: "After I had been here some weeks, and 
had preached at several places, I found scarcely one man, and 
but few women, who supported a credible profession of religion. 
Some were grossly ignorant of the first principles of religion. 
Some were given to quarreling and fighting, some to profane 
swearing, some to intemperance, and perhaps most of them 
totally negligent of the forms of religion in their own houses. 
I could not think a church formed of such materials as these 
could properly be called a church of Christ. With this I was 
considerably distressed, and made to cry, where am I ! What 
situation am I in ? Many of these produced certificates of their 
having been regular members in full communion and in good 
standing in the churches from which they had emigrated, and 
this they thought entitled them to what they called christian 
privileges here. Others would be angry and raise a quarrel 
with their neighbors if they did not certify, contrary to their 
knowledge and belief, that the bearer was a good moral charac- 
ter. I found indeed very few on whose information I could 
rely respecting the moral character of those who wished to be 
church members. "* 

This is indeed a gloomy picture, and, while we do not 
hear of such gross and general immoralities among the Baptists, 
who had been gathered into churches, and watched over by 
wise and faithful pastors, the life and spirit of religion seemed 
to have no place in the country. This sad state of affairs did 
not arise from want of able and pious ministers. There has, 
probably, never been, on this continent, a more effective corps 
of preachers than lived and labored in Kentucky during the year 
1784. Lewis Craig, John Taylor, William Hickman, John Bai- 
ley and William Marshall, have had few superiors for effective- 

*Eice's Memoirs, page 68. 

Gloomy State of Affairs in 1784. 51 

tiess in the gospel ministry, in any age or country. Yet, under 
their ministry, and that of several others, who had been abund- 
antly successful in Virginia, we do not learn that there was a 
single baptism during the year. But, after all, of what value is 
human talent, skill and energy in the gospel ministry if unac- 
companied by divine power? The time had not yet come for 
God to pour out his Spirit upon the hearts of the people, in 
this great wilderness. 

Most or all of the ministers who now labored in this relig- 
ious desert had been accustomed to live in the midst of a con- 
tinuous revival, in Virginia, from the time they entered the 
christian warfare till they came to Kentucky. They had seen 
multitudes of people weeping and crying for mercy, while many 
others were rejoicing in the fullness of the love of Christ. Some 
of them had lain for months together in wretched prisons, "for 
preaching the gospel contrary to law." But even those were 
heavenly seasons compared to what they were enduring now. 
Then the divine presence was with them. Sinners were weep- 
ing and saints rejoicing around the jails, while they preached a 
crucified Savior to them, through iron grates, and mingled 
their prayers and tears with those of the multitudes who visited 
them in their prison cells. But now all their prayers seemed 
unanswered, and their preaching appeared to fall on hearts of 
stone. It is not wonderful that they were gloomy and sad, or 
that the new country became distasteful to them as were the 
quails of the desert to the Israelites. Kentucky was indeed an 
Eden of beauty and fertility, and, with Bishop Heber, they 
could exclaim : 

" Every prospect pleases and only man is vile." 

But with them these things were trifles corr.pared with the priv- 
ilege of communing with Christ. How fully they appreciated 
the sentiment of Newton's hymn : 

" While blessed with a sense of his love, 

A palace a toy would appear, 
And prisons would palaces prove 

If Jesus would dwell with me there." 

But under all these discouraging circumstances, they continued 
to sow the seed of gospel truth, trusting in the divine promise 
that if they fainted not they should reap in due season. The 

52 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

fulfillment of the promise was realized anon, and the desert 
blossomed as the rose. 

During this year only one church was gathered. But this 
was an important work. It was planted in the midst of a wide 
field of destitution, now being rapidly populated. Louisville 
had been settled by a few families as early as 1778, and now 
contained ^'6^ houses finished, 37 partly finished, 22 raised but 
not covered, and more than 100 cabins. " A number of popu- 
lous settlements had been made on Bear Grass, and in other 
portions of the county. Some early settlements had been made 
along the north bank of Salt river, and several forts and stations 
had been occupied in Shelby and Spencer counties. In the 
area of country lying betv/een Salt river and the Ohio, and ex- 
tending east to Kentucky, there was no church, and, so far as 
known, but one preacher. In this large diocese John Whita- 
ker labored alone, save when some preacher came from afar to 
assist him. One of his preaching points was about six miles 
east of Louisville. Here he d^iollected the scattered Baptists 
from the surrounding settlements, and, in January, 1784, with 
the aid of James Smith, solemnly constituted them a church, 
under the style of the Baptist church on Bear Grass. 

Bear Grass was not only the first, but for a period of more 
than eight years, the only church in Jefferson county, or with- 
in thirty miles of Louisville. When it entered into the consti- 
tution of Salem Association, the next year after its constitution, 
it numbered nineteen members, and was under the pastoral care 
of John Whitaker. Its growth was not rapid ; for when it en- 
tered into the constitution of Long Run Association, just after 
the close of the great revival in 1803, it numbered only sixty- 
seven members. About 1820, it enjoyed a revival which in- 
creased its membership to 142. But Campbellism early took 
root in the church, and it was utterly destroyed by that heresy. 
Among its early members were Col. Samuel Wells, the Kel- 
lars, Hikeses and Arterburns. 

John Whitaker was one of the first preachers that locat- 
ed in Kentucky, and it is not certain that he was not here ear- 
lier than William Marshall. Of his early life nothing is now 
known. He is supposed to have emigrated from Maryland, 
and, with his son Aquila, was in George Rogers Clark's cam- 
paign agamst the Indians, as a Kentucky volunteer, in 1780. 

Gloomy State of Affairs, in 1784. 53 

The next year he was living in Brashears Station, at the mouth 
of Floyd's Fork, in what is now Bullitt county. His grandson, 
the late venerable John Williamson, related that some young 
men were going to that point to procure his services in marry- 
ing two couples at Lynn's station, on Bear Grass, when they 
discovered the Indians that effected Floyd's defeat on Long 
Run in 178 1. 

Mr. Whitaker, though somewhat advanced In years when 
he came to the West, appears to have been very active in the 
ministry. He aided in constituting most of the early churches, 
that were gathered within fifty miles of Louisville. He gather- 
ed Bear Grass church, and became its pastor at the time of its 
constitution, probably filling that position until the time o f his 
death, which occurred not far from the year 1800. His sons 
were John, Abraham. Elijah, Isaac, Jesse and Aquilla. The 
latter was a colonel of Kentucky malitia, and was a famous 
Indian fighter. Isaac was a Baptist preacher. 



The year 1785 was one of great activity and prosperity 
among the Baptists of Kentucky. It opened, as the preceding 
year had closed, very gloomily. But it had not advanced far 
before some glimmerings of the approaching dawn began to en- 
courage the desponding saints. Increased interest in religious 
worship began to be manifest. The ministers held meetings in 
the cabins of the settlers more frequently, and there was an in- 
crease in the size of their congregations. Before the winter was 
over, some tenderness of feeling began to be manifest, and 
there was some weeping under the ministry of the word. The 
first appearance of this blessed work was in John Craig's settle- 
ment on Clear creek, in what is now Woodford county. To- 
wards spring some persons professed conversion. The revival 
spread to other neighborhoods, and, during that year and the 
next, pervaded most of the settlements in the new country. As 
this work began under the ministry of Mr. Taylor, it is deemed 
proper to give a brief sketch of his eminently useful life, in this 

John Taylor was born in Fauquier county, Virginia, in 
1752. His father had wasted his estate through intemperance, 
and young Taylor was brought up to hard labor on a farm. 
While he was a youth, his parents moved over the Blue Ridge, 
and settled on the Shenandoah river, in Frederick county. 
Here, at the age of 17, he heard the gospel preached for the 
first time. The preacher was William Marshall, a sketch of 
whose liie has already been given. He was much affected 
under Mr. Marshall's preaching, and resolved to attend no 
more of his meetings. But the Holy Spirit had lodged an ar- 
row in his heart, and he was unable to rid himself of the awful 
impression of guilt that weighed upon his soul. After a while 


First Revival in Kentucky. 5 5 

he began to read the Bible and pray much. Like John Bun- 
yan, under similar circumstances, he presently concluded that 
he had made himself as good as any body, and that he would 
"go to heaven without making any noise about it." Mean- 
while, quite a revival had followed Mr. Marshall's preaching. 
A number of persons had been baptized, and among them two 
brothers of the names of Joseph and Isaac Redding, both of 
whom were afterwards valuable preachers in Kentucky. The 
two young zealots commenced holding meetings in the neigh- 
borhood soon after their conversion. They had been intimate 
associates with young Taylor in sinful amusements, which 
caused the latter to attend one of their meetings. ' ' The bur- 
then of their preaching was, that men must be born again or 
never see the kingdom of heaven." " Under the preaching of 
the Reddings, " says Mr. Taylor, "the poor rags of my own 
righteousness took fire and soon burnt me to death. " After 
this he endured great remorse and agony of mind for many 
months. At last he found peace of soul in Christ, and was 
baptized by that devoted " prisoner of the Lord," James Ire- 
land. This was in his 20th year. He now felt much impressed 
to warn sinners of their danger, and invite them to a Savior he 
had found precious to his own soul. He felt such a desire to 
communicate his feelings to Joseph Redding, who had moved 
to South Carolina, and to be constantly near him, that he im- 
mediately set out to seek him and induce him to return or to 
remain in South Carolina with him. In the following spring, 
they both returned to Virginia, and the two zealous young men 
commenced laboring together in the gospel of Christ. For 
about ten years, Mr. Taylor, sometimes with Redding, some- 
times with others, devoted himself to preaching in the frontier 
settlements, following the emigrants to the extreme borders of 
civilization, God crowning his labors with abundant success. 

In the fall of 1779, he visited Kentucky, traveling across 
the mountains on horseback. Joseph Redding started at the 
same time, with his family, to come down the Ohio river on a 
flat-boat. But being detained on the way, he did not reach 
Louisville till the following spring. Being discouraged by sick- 
ness in his family and the death of one of his children he deter- 
mined to go back to Virginia. Mr. Taylor was discouraged by 
the low state of religion in Kentucky, and the two yoke-fellows 

56 History of Kentuckv Baptists. 

returned across the wilderness together to their former field of 
labor. Here Mr. Taylor continued to labor as formerly, till the 
fall of 1783, when, having married and received a small prop- 
erty by the will of an unmarried uncle, he determined to move 
to Kentucky and make it his permanent home. The descrip- 
tion of his journey is here given in his own unpolished but 
graphic language : 

" It was a gloomy thing at that time to move to Kentucky. 
.... Without a single friend or acquaintance to accompany 
me, with my young helpless family, to feel all the horrors that 
then lay in the way to Kentucky, we took water at Redstone ; 
and for want of a better opening, I paid for a passage in a 
lonely, ill-fixed boat of strangers. The river being low, this 
lonesome boat was about seven weeks before she landed at 
Bear Grass. Not a soul was then settled on the Ohio between 
Wheeling and Louisville, a space of five or six hundred miles, 
and not one hour, day or night, in safety. Though it was now 
winter, not a soul in all Bear Grass settlement was in safety, 
but by being in a fort. . 

' ' I then meditated travelling about eighty miles, to Craigs 
Station on Gilberts creek, in Lincoln county. We set out in 
a few days. Nearly all I owned was then at stake. I had 
three horses. Two of them were packed, the other my wife 
rode with as much lumber besides as the beast could bear. I 
had four black people, one man and three smaller ones. The 
pack-horses were led, one by myself, the other by my man. 
The trail, what there was, being so narrow and bad, we had no 
chance but to wade through all the mud, rivers, and creeks we 
came to. Salt river, with a number of its large branches, we 
had to deal with often. Those waters being flush, we often 
must wade to our middle, the weather cold. Those struggles 
often made us forget the dangers we were in from Indians. We 
only encamped in the woods one night, where we could only 
look for protection from the Lord. One Indian might have de- 
feated us ; for though I had a rifle, I had very little skill to use 
it. After six days painful travel of this kind, we arrived at 
Craigs Station, a little before Christmas, and about three 
months after our start from Virginia. Through all this rugged 
travel, my wife was in a very helpless state ; for about one month 
after our arrival, my son Ben zvas born.''^ 

*fli.story of Ten Churches, pp. 13, 14. 

Fhst Revivalin Kentucky. 57 

The reader is already aware that Craigs Station was in 
what is now Garrard county, two or three miles east of Lancas- 
ter. After remaining here about seven months, Mr. Taylor 
moved on his own land in what is now Woodford county, 
where there was not a single settlement between him and the 
towns of the hostile Indians. This was in the summer of 1784. 
That the reader may understand how these old pioneer 
preachers labored so abundantly in the vineyard of the Lord, 
without pecuniary compensation, and still supported their fam- 
ilies well, and in many cases accumulated good estates, it may 
be interesting ro read Mr. Taylor's account of his expierience in 
business matters. It is here given in his own words : 

"On my settlement at home (in my little cabin sixteen 
feet square, with no floor but the natural earth, without table, 
bedstead or stool,) I had nothing .before me but hard labor, be- 
ing entirely in the woods. After getting another little cabin 
up and fixed for the winter, our first work was to make fence 
rails, and enclose all the land we intended to clear through the 
winter. The first fence that was put upon the place, I did with 
my own hands. I will state one of my day's work : I went 
out on a cold morning, late in October or early in November. 
When I counted my ground work, I found fifty panels were 
laid. This, I thought to myself, I must put up, and fifty more 
to-day ; the rails all lying where they were split at different dis- 
tances. At it I went, with nimble step. I only put up the 
fence six rails high, but this I found a full day's work. About 
sunset I finished my task, as I called it. In one day, I had a 
hundred panels of fence put up, with my own hands, and the 
newly split logs moved from one to fifty steps, through the brush 
and fallen timber, except the fifty panels of ground-work, first 
laid. The rails were of a size for six of them to a panel, to 
make a safe fence. In this early day, their length was eleven 
feet. I name this day's work, that it may be accounted for, 
how I have cleared near four hundred acres of land, in the 
heavy forest of Kentucky, besides making other good improve- 
ments. We had about twenty-two acres fenced in before 
Christmas, all of which we cleared and planted the next spring. 
Our crop, of every kind, grew finely that year, and in the fall I 
had about two hundred and fifty barrels of corn, the greater 
part of which I had to spare, to new comers, at a good price ; 

5 8 Histoty of Kentucky Baptists. 

for there was plenty of cane, and other good food in the woodi-, 
for stock. When I first moved, I had purchased two small 
sows with seven or eight pigs, from which, the next year, \ 
killed about a thousand weight of pork. Salt was with us then 
about six pence* per pound, "f 

This may serve as an example. So lived and labored those 
noble men of God, who planted our churches and laid the found- 
ation of our future prosperity, in the wilderness of Kentucky. 
They labored all day, six days in the week, except when they 
were called to attend their Saturday meetings, preach funerals, 
or attend to other duties of their holy calling. Then they 
preached on Sunday, and often several nights in the week. 

It was under the preaching of John Taylor, in his own 
cabin and those of his neighbors, just at the time he was per- 
forming the hard physical labor described above, that the first 
religious revival, of which we have any account, in "Upper 
Kentucky," commenced. It was just after the sad wailings of 
God's ministers over the deathlike coldness of Christ's sheep in 
the wilderness, referred to in the preceding chapter, that the 
first buddings of the precious harvest began to appear. 

In the winter of 1784-5, "We began," says Taylor, "to 
hold night meetings at our little cabins in the woods." "There 
seemed to be some heart-melting among the people. The first, 
I recollect, was at a night meeting, at my little cabin. Though 
the night was wet and dark, and scarcely a trace to get to my 
house, the little cabin was pretty well filled with people, and 
what was best of all, I have no doubt the Lord was there. A 
Mrs. Cash, the wife of Warren Cash, was much affected and 
soon after was hopefully converted. Others were also touched 
to the heart, who afterwards obtained relief in the Lord." Mrs. 
Cash was, as far as we know, the first fruits unto the Lord in 
the far-famed Blue Grass Region of Kentucky. 

Susannah Cash was the daughter of Elder William Baskett 
and his wife Mary, whose maiden name was Pace. She was 
one of thirteen children — eight sons and five daughters — born 
to her parents. She was born and raised in Goochland county, 
Virginia. Her father being a prosperous man, she received a 
fair education for that time. In November, 1783, she was mar- 
ried to a soldier, who had served four years in the Revolution- 

' 8J cents. t History of Ten Churches, pp. 44-47. 

Fit St Revival in Kentucky. 59 

ary War, of the name of Warren Cash, a wild, reckless young 
man, who was so illiterate that he was unable to read. A few 
months after her marriage, she moved with her husband to Ken- 
tucky. They first stopped in Madison county, but soon after- 
wards moved to Woodford, and settled where Mortonville is 
now located. Here, as we have seen above, she was converted 
to the Lord. Soon afterwards her husband was converted, and 
they were both baptized into the fellowship of Clear Creek 
church, soon after its constitution, by John Taylor. She now 
set about teaching her husband. In this she succeeded, and 
being a man of good natural mind, Warren Cash soon became a 
useful preacher. " His tutoress and instrument of his conver- 
sion," says John Taylor, "is one of the most pious minded and 
best taught females in the religion of the heart, I was ever ac- 
quainted with." Mrs. Cash lived to see most or all of her chil- 
dren baptized, and one of them, Jeremiah, an acceptable 

The indications of a revival in the little settlement on Clear 
creek so encouraged the brethren living in that locality, that 
they began to think of constituting a church. These brethren 
were members of the church on South Elkhorn, but the dis- 
tance from their homes to that church made it inconvenient for 
them to attend. After due consultation they met, in April, 
1785, and constituted the Regular Baptist Church on Clear 
creek. There were about thirty members in the constitution, 
and among them four ordained preachers, viz : John Taylor, 
William Cave, James Rucker and John Dupuy. 

Clear Creek was the second church on the north side of 
Kentucky river. Several persons had been converted during 
the winter, but none of them had been baptized. The revival 
continued on through the year, and about twenty were bap- 
tized. The following winter, the church began to canvass the 
propriety of choosing a pastor. It may be interesting to the 
reader to know how the old fathers in Kentucky proceeded in 
calling and installing a pastor. The proceedings in these mat- 
ters at Clear Creek are given by John Taylor as follows : 

" Sometime in the next winter [after the church was con- 
stituted] the question began to be stirred about a pastor, in the 
church. When this talk came to my ears, it gave me alarm, 
thinking the peace of the church might be broken on this ques- 

6o History of Kentucky Baptists. 

tion ; for I had seen much trouble, at times, in Virginia, in 
choosing a pastor, where there were a number of preachers. 
And my own opinion was, that a church could do fully as well 
without, as with a particular pastor. Two of the preachers that 
were with us, Dupuy and Rucker, had been pastors in Vir- 
ginia, and a number of their old flocks, then members of Clear 
Creek church. My own fears were that we should have a heavy 
contest which of them should be the pastor. But the question 
was brought into the church, and the day fixed on to choose 
a pastor. Helps were sent for to Elkhorn and the Great Cross- 
ing to install, (as they called it), a pastor in the church. I think 
it was at our March monthly meeting that the helps came, per- 
haps six or eight. Lewis Craig acted as moderator. His mode 
was to ask every member of the church, male or female, bond 
or free, 'Whom do you choose for your pastor ?' I think the 
church was now about sixty in number. I must confess it filled 
me with surprise, when the first man that was asked, answered 
that he chose me; and my astonishment continued to increase, 
until the question went all around ; only one man objected : 
but Lewis Craig soon worked him out of his objection, for it lay 
in thinking my coat was too fine."* 

Mr. Taylor, in his rare but commendable humility, was 
not only m-ach surprised at being elected to the pastoral charge 
of the church which he had been the principal instrument in 
gathering, but he promptly declined to accept the position, 
which he felt he was incapable of filling. The "helps" went 
home with him, and labored with him most of the night. Final- 
ly they induced him to agree that, if the church should be in 
the same mind next day, he would accept the call. They met 
next day, according to appointment, and proceeded with the 
ceremonies as follows : 

"After preaching had ended, the moderator, Lewis 
Craig, called the church together, informing them that if they 
were of the same mind that they were the day before, I had 
agreed to serve them. The voice of the church being unani- 
mous, those helps proceeded to install me, as they called it, 
into the pastoral care of Clear Creek church. Their mode was : 
three of them to kneel down with me, while they all laid their 

History of Ten Churches, pp. 55, 56. 

First Revival in Kentucky. 6i 

right hands on my head. Two of them prayed, after which the 
moderator took my right hand in his, and gave me the solemn 
charge to fulfill the duty of the pastor to the church. After 
which he called forward the church, each to give me the right 
hand of fellowship, as their pastor. This soon produced more 
heart-melting effect than we had ever before seen at Clear Creek. 
What wrought most on my feelings was, that almost every sin- 
ner in the crowded house pushed forward, either looking solemn 
as death, or in a flood of tears, to give me their trembling 
hands. "* 

Such were the ceremonies of an installation of a pastor, in 
Kentucky, in 1786. This seems to have been an established 
custom of the times, and doubtless the men who were now prac- 
ticing it here brought it from Virginia, whence they had so re- 
cently come. Whatever may be said of the propriety of so 
much ceremony in an institution as simple in all its arrange- 
ments as a Baptist church, and that without any plain scriptural 
precept or example, it seems to have had a good effect in this 
case. "From that day's meeting, " says Mr. Taylor, " an in- 
stantaneous revival took place in the settlement of Clear Creek. 
That summer I baptized about sixty of my neighbors, and a 
number of them the most respectable. I took notice that four 
experiences were received dating their first awakening from the 

day that I took the care of the church. 
"This year a house of worship was built by this church, and 

the pastor's salary was fixed at seventy dollars. Next year it 
was raised to one hundred. The plan adopted for paying the 
pastor was to proportion the amount among the members ac- 
cording to their ability to pay. When the apportionment was 
made out the paper was handed to the pastor, and as it was to 
be paid in produce, he was to credit members when the com- 
modities were delivered, Of the one hundred and seventy dol- 
lars, only about forty was paid. But as the pastor was not re- 
quired to report to the church, those who paid did not know but 
what it had all been paid." 

John Taylor continued the pastor ot Clear Creek church 
about three years, and then, supposing that he saw some jeal- 
ousy arising in the church, and especially among some of the 

History of Ten Churches, pp. 57, 58. 

62 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

four ordained preachers of his charge, he resigned. He how- 
ever continued to minister to the church till the spring of 1795, 
when he moved to the Ohio river, near the present locaUty of 
BulHttsburg church, in Boone county. Here he remained 
about five years, laboring actively in building up the feeble 
churches, and helping to constitute new ones. During this 
period he frequently visited Trimble county, and preached to 
the settlers on Corn creek. Having collected together a suffi- 
cient number of Baptists to form a church, they were constituted 
the Regular Baptist church on Corn creek, in the year 1800. 
Two years afterward, Mr. Taylor moved to this neighborhood, 
and settled on a tract of land he had purchased on Mount Byrd, 
near the present site of Milton. He lived here about fifteen 
years, very uncomfortably. The settlement contained only 
about fifty families. He had not much opportunity of preach- 
ing, without traveling long distances. He accumulated prop- 
erty rapidly, and grew cold in religion. His conscientious op- 
position to Freemasonry caused some unworthy member of that 
order to institute malicious prosecutions against him ; and finally 
he sustained a heavy loss of property by the burning of his im- 
mense barn by a stroke of lightning. Amid all these afflictions, 
though not so active in the ministry as he had been under more 
favorable circumstances, he performed much labor in the gospel. 
He meekly attributed all his misfortunes to the hand of God, 
chastening him for his unfaithfulness in his holy calling. 

In 1 81 5 he moved to Franklin county, and connected him- 
self with Big Spring church in Woodford county, then under 
the pastoral care of Silas M. Noel. He remained with this 
church only about ten months, when, on the 7th of January, 
1 816, he went into the constitution of a church in Frankfort. 
Here he remained only about two years, when he went into the 
constitution of Buck Run church in Franklin county, January 
31, 18 1 8. Here he found his final church home. He was now 
in his 66th year ; but he continued to travel and preach with 
unabated zeal. After this he labored in many extensive reviv- 
als. He usually attended seven or eight associations every tall, 
and was a wise, conservative counsellor. The last meeting of 
the kind he ever attended was Franklin Association, in 1835. 
He was then about 83 years old. He there agreed to attend 
the next meeting of Elkhorn Association, but before that period 

First Revival in Kentucky. 63 

came round God took him to Himself In January, 1836, he 
passed away to his eternal home. 

Mr. Taylor was uneducated, in the popular meaning of the 
term, but was a man of a remarkably strong, clear intellect, and 
of calm, sound judgment. As a writer he was crude, but al- 
ways strong and eminently practical. "Everything he ever 
wrote, " said the distinguished William Vaughan, "is worth read- 
ing." He was very familiar with the Bible, and, as a preacher 
he was plain, practical and abundantly successful. He was, like 
Boone, a pioneer by nature. His History of Ten Churches, 
published in 1827, is, by far, the most valuable contribution that 
has yet been made to the history of the early Baptists of Ken- 

This brief sketch of his life has been here presented that the 
reader may have some slight knowledge of his character, and 
his labors, but he cannot be dismissed. His name and labors 
are interwoven with the whole texture of Baptist history in 
central Kentucky, from 1783 till 1835. 

Clear Creek Church was constituted of about thirty 
members, dismissed from South Elkhorn for that purpose, in 
April, 1785. A revival had commenced in the neighborhood 
the previous winter, which continued with but little interruption 
for about two years. During this period between eighty and 
one hundred were baptized. John Taylor was chosen pastor 
of this church, which he had gathered, in March, 1786, and 
continued in that office about three years, when he resigned. 
The church then numbered about 150 members. Mr. Taylor 
continued to supply the church with preaching, and to admin- 
ister ordinances among them, till 1795, when he moved to 
Boone county. In 1790 another refreshing from the Lord vis- 
ited this church, and continued seven or eight months. "About 
an hundred and fifty were added to Clear Creek church, which 
brought her number to upwards of three hundred. She was 
now the largest church in Elkhorn Association and continued 
so for many years. "* Towards the close of the century this 
church partook of the general coldness and consequent strife 
that pervaded all the religious organization in the State at that 
time. But all her troubles of this kind were soon healed, at 
least for the time, and her prosperity became greater than ever. 

"* History of Ten Chnrches, pp. 13 

64 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

"In the great revival in Kentucky, about the close of the 
last century, Clear Creek greatly partook of this blessing, so 
that the church grew up to about five hundred members, A 
principal instrument in this great revival was Richard Cave, "f 

For a period of about twenty years from this time, under 
the pastoral care of Jacob Creath, Henry Toler and perhaps 
other preachers, at different times, this old church steadily de- 
clined. Hillsboro', Griers Creek and Versailles churches were 
constituted of members dismissed from her, and she became so 
reduced in numbers that the members began to talk about dis- 
solving her organization. Henry Toler had become discour- 
aged and resigned her pastoral care, and for some time she 
remained without a pastor, and without an ordained minister in 
her membership. Under these gloomy circumstances she ap- 
plied once more to her founder and first pastor. On the third 
Saturday in January, 1822, the church extended a unanimous 
call to John Taylor to become their pastor. It had been just 
thirty-seven years since the first revival on Clear Creek com- 
menced under the preaching of this old pioneer, at his own little 
cabin, then in the wilderness. In their present despondency, 
the minds of the old fathers and mothers of Clear Creek church 
ran back to these bright, happy days, and they imagined that, 
if they had "Brother Taylor" with them again, the happy 
scenes of "the long ago" would be reproduced. They talked 
to their children and grand-children about it, with tears in their 
eyes. Perhaps, to appease the old members, the church ex- 
tended a unanimous call to "Brother Taylor." Mr. Taylor 
now lived on Buck Run, in Franklin county, about twenty 
miles from Clear Creek. He, too, had grown old. He was 
now in his seventieth year. But he had neither forgotten, nor 
lost, interest in Clear Creek church. Let us hear how the old 
patriarch spent that bitter cold night in January — the night of 
the same day that the church made the call — he knowing noth- 
ing of the transaction. The following account is from his own 
pen : 

"I had gone to a meeting at the North Fork of Elkhorn, 
the third Saturday in January, very cold weather. I staid all 
night at Brother St. Clair's, slept in a small upper room, when 
I dreamed I was fishing, with another man, in very clear water, 

tib. 82. 

First Revival in Kentiicky. 65 

about middle deep. We saw a number of large fishes which we 
endeavored to take with a gig. Though they seemed gentle, we 
caught none of them. A number of small fish began to skip 
out of the water, and using their fins as wings, came flying over 
our heads in abundance. When we became anxious to catch 
some of those very small fishes, striking at them with my hat, 
I only caught one of them. The fins of this little captive looked 
the color of silver, and while fluttering, being entangled in the 
lining of my hat, I awoke. Being very drowsy, I turned over 
and soon dropped to sleep, and, as soon, got to fishing again, 
and several others with me. Being very intent on success, we 
came to a water wherein was a vast number of very large fishes. 
Being very gentle, they were basking under a dark scum that 
was on the water. Only their tails could be seen, waving near 
the surface of the very clear water. I grasped two of them, 
near the tail fin, one in each hand, and their weight was such 
that my whole strength could scarcely draw them out of the 
water. Laying them by, I prepared for another draught. 
Laying hold of only one, I now found it more difficult to draw 
it out of the water, owing to a great number of smaller ones 
connected with it, all of which came out together. Though 
my comrades were engaged in other places, I said to one of 
them near me, ' These small fishes will make a fine fry. ' The 
idea was. the others were for future use. I awoke from this 
second dream, with feelings very different from the first. I 
sprang from the bed, with an agonizing tremor through my 
whole soul and body. I could scarcely hold a joint still. The 
place seemed as dreadful as when Jacob saw the ladder. 
A while I would walk the room, and a while be on my knee.?, 
or sitting, weeping out my soul in prayers to God, for a revival 
of religion among us." " I know not whether I was ever more 
solicitous for my own salvation, than to see a revival of religion 
at poor old Clear Creek church. All my prayers seemed to run 
particularly to that point." " I had not experienced such en- 
couraging impressions as now for the space of twenty years. 
The balance of the night was spent in awful anxiety, and joy- 
ful hope."* 

"Your old men shall dream dreams," came into the mind 
of the faithful old servant. When, a few days afterwards, the 

* History of Ten Churches, pp. 80, 84. 

66 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

messenger of the church came to inform him of the call, he 
felt that the message was from God, and he arose and went. 
He did not agree to become pastor of the church, but promised 
to visit them as often as he could till they could secure a pastor. 
He at once commenced holding meetings within the bounds of 
old Clear Creek church. The church owned, at this period, a 
commodious brick house of worship. But he preferred to hold 
his meetings in the houses of the brethren, as in the olden time. 
He invited the younger ministers in the neighborhood to assist 
him. A revival commenced almost immediately, and continued 
more than a year. " More than i6o were baptized." Up to 
this period this church had received about one thousand mem- 
bers by experience and baptism, half of which number had 
been baptized by John Taylor. Warren Cash and his wife, the 
first baptized into its fellowship, were still living, and continued 
to do service for the Master more than twenty-five years after 

After this revival, James Sugget was pastor of the church 
for a short time, and was succeeded by Theodrick Boulware. 
Mr. Boulware preached to the church three or four years, and 
then moved to Calloway county, Missouri, in October, 1827. 

From this time the church continued rather an even course 
for a number of years, and then began gradually to decline. 
It is now very small and feeble. Its mighty strength of the 
past has been distributed to its numerous offspring, and now as 
it approaches its centennial, it seems old and ready to depart. 
Yet it is written : * ' They that wait upon the Lord shall renew 
their strength." 



Limestone Church (now Washington; was another body 
of the kind organized on the soil of Kentucky in 1785. It was 
gathered by William Wood. It was constituted of nine mem- 
bers whose names were as follows : ' ' William Wood, Sarah 
Wood, James Turner, John Smith, Luther Calvin, Priscilla Calvin, 
Sarah Starks, Charles Tuel, and Sarah Tuel. "* The church 
was located at or near the present town of Washington 
in Mason county. This was the oldest settlement in this region 
of the State. It is claimed that Simon Kenton raised a crop of 
corn here, in 1775, the same year that Boonesboro and Har- 
rodsburg were settled, and the town of Washington was laid off 
ten years later, by Elder William Wood and a man of the name 
of Arthur Fox. 

At the constitution of Limestone church, William Wood 
became its pastor, and represented it at the formation of Elk- 
horn Association, in the Fall of 1785. The first general Revi- 
val that occurred in Kentucky, and which commenced on Clear 
creek, as related in the preceding chapter, reached Limestone 
in the Summer of 1788. The first baptism that occurred in 
Mason county, was administered in the Ohio river, in front of 
the present city of Maysville, in August of that year, by William 
Wood. A large number of people was present, and a crowd 
of Indians gathered on the opposite shore. The following 
persons were baptized: Elizabeth' Wood, John Wilcox, Ann 
Turner, Mary Rose, and Elizabeth Washburne.f When 
Washington became the county seat of Mason, the church 
changed its name to Washington church. Mr. Wood 
continued to serve it as pastor till 1788, when he became en- 
angled in land speculation, and was excluded from the church. 

•■■Smith's His. Maysville Church, pp. o, 4. tib. p. 4 

;;h, pp. 

68 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

The Washington church has had a continuous existence from 
its constitution to the present time. It is now quite weak. In 
1875, it reported a total membership of only 21. 

William Wood appears to have been a man of culture and 
considerable ability. He was among the early settlers of 
Mason county, and was probably from New York. He pur- 
chased a thousand acres of land on which the town of Wash- 
ington in Mason county now stands, and, in 1785, he and 
Arthur Fox laid off that town. The same year, he gathered 
Washington church, to which he ministered as pastor till 1798. 
In this year complaint was made against him in the church, on 
account of some business transactions. Failing to give satisfac- 
tion to the church, he was excluded from its fellowship. After 
this we hear no more of him. 

PoTTENGERS Creek, located in the Southern part of Nelson 
county, was another church constituted in the year 1785. It 
was gathered by Benjamin Lynn, and he was its first pastor. 
It was one of the churches of which South Kentucky Associa- 
tion was constituted. Mr. Lynn had his membership in this 
church. In 1790, according to Asplund, it contained thirty- 
eight members. It was probably drawn off from the general 
union by John Bailey and Thomas J. Chilton, in 1804. It long 
since became extinct. 

Cox's Creek Church is located in Nelson county, six 
miles north of Bardstown. William Taylor settled on the 
waters of Cox's creek as early as 1784. He soon began to hold 
meetings in the cabins of the settlers, and, April. 17, 1785, 
with the assistance of John Whitaker and Joseph Barnett, con- 
stituted Cox's Creek church. Sixteen members, including 
Mr. Taylor and his wife, were in the constitution. By the last 
of the following October, the church had swelled its number to 
twenty-six. On "the 31st of October, 1785, messengers from 
Severns Valley, Cedar Creek, Bear Grass and Cox's Creek 
churches, met on Cox's creek and formed Salem Association. 

Cox's Creek church, at its constitution, called William 
Taylor to its pastoral care, and he continued to serve in tha 
capacity, till his death, in 1809. ^^ ^^^ succeeded by Moses 
Pierson, who continued in office till 1825, when he resigned 
Isaac Taylor, a son of William Taylor, was then called, and 
served the church until his death, which occurred, March 13, 

Other churches planted in 1785. 69 

1842, in the 69th year of his age. Smith Thomas, one of the 
most valuable ministers of his day, succeeded Isaac Taylor. 
Mr. Thomas resigned, after two or three years, and was suc- 
ceeded by V. E. Kirtley. In 1849, ^^ ^^e resignation of Mr. 
Kirtley, Preston B. Samuels became the pastor of Cox's Creek 
church. This connection was a most fortunate one for the 
church. Its prosperity was constant during his whole pastor- 
al term. He served the church faithfully till his sudden death, 
which occurred January i, 1872. Thomas H. Coleman suc- 
ceeded Mr. Samuels, and, after a brief period gave place to his 
brother James M. Coleman who, after a few years, was suc- 
ceeded by John M. Sallee, the present incumbent. 

This old church has been, from its constitution, one of the 
strongest and most respectable churches in the State. It has 
contained many of the prominent citizens of Nelson county. 
The Kings, Mays, Coxes and other prominent families have 
been of its congregation, from the first until the present. The 
Wellses, Crawfords, Stones and Formans have been of its 
membership for two or three generations past. General Henry 
Crist and General Joseph Lewis were among its early members. 
It has had, from the first, an intelligent, enterprising member- 
ship, and has been a leading church in the benevolent enter- 
prises of the denomination. May it still continue to be valiant 
for the Master, for many generations to come. 

William Taylor was the founder and first pastor ot Cox's 
Creek church. He was born in New Jersey, in the year 1737. 
In his early childhood, his parents moved to Virginia, where 
he was brought up to hard labor on a farm, receiving but a very 
limited education. In' early manhood he returned to New 
Jersey. Here he married a Baptist young lady of the name of 
Rachel Thompson, who proved to him a most estimable com- 
panion, and a faithful colaborer in the worK of the Master. 

Mr. Taylor obtained the hope of salvation and united with 
a Baptist church, in early manhood, and soon afterwards began 
to preach the Gospel. At first he was extremely diffident and 
easily embarrassed, and his first efforts to preach were very 
unpromising. On one occasion, when attempting to preach, 
he perceived some disorder in his congregation, and became at 
once so confused that he was unable to proceed. Not knowing 
how to escape from his embarrassed position otherwise, he said 

7o Histoty of Kentucky Baptists. 

to the people: "You are so wicked that I cannot preach to 
you," and abruptly left the house, mounted his horse and went 

After preaching a short time in his native State, he moved to 
Buffalo (now Bethany), Virginia, and from there to the 
Southeastern part of Ohio. Here he remained about eight 
years. He then came down the Ohio river to the Falls. How 
long he remained here is not known ; but he settled on Cox's 
Creek, Nelson county, Kentucky, as early as i784. At this 
time, there appears to have been but two other Regular Baptist 
preachers in Kentucky west of Frankfort, and they were both 
old and wanting in activity and enterprise. There were three 
small Regular Baptist churches in this region, and one of them 
had lost its pastor by the Indians. There were two small 
Separate Baptist churches, and as many preachers of that order. 
But these and the Regulars, hke the Jews and Samaritans of 
old, had no dealings with each other. 

William Taylor speedily became to the Regular Baptists of 
the Southern settlements what Lewis Craig was to those of the 
Northern. He not only collected the settlers together in the 
regions immediately around him, and preached to them, but he 
visited the little churches, preached to them and encouraged 
them. The country was full of hostile Indians, lurking in the 
woods, and murdering the settlers. But this fearless soldier of 
the cross seemed to disregard all danger. He inspired the 
settlers with courage by his cheerful fearlessness, and won their 
hearts by his constant piety and practical benevolence. By the 
middle of April, succeeding his settlement in the country, he 
had collected Baptists enough to constitute Cox's Creek church. 
Of this he immediately became pastor. There were now four 
little churches, aggregating 123 members, including three or- 
dained ministers, in this part of the country. These he induced 
to meet, by messengers, at Cox's Creek, on the 29th of Octov 
ber, 1785, and form an association. 

From the time of his settlement on Cox's creek, till the 
feebleness of old age rendered him incapable of enduring hardships 
he spent nearly all his time in traveling and preaching among 
the settlers in a large area of country around him, while his 
noble christian wife so managed his domestic affairs as to pro- 
vide a comfortable living for his family. An anecdote is relat- 

VVilliani Taylo7 . 7 1 

€d of him, showing how thoroughly he was absorbed in his holy 
calling. On the day on which Cox's Creek church was con- 
stituted he and his wife had gone to meeting, both riding one 
horse. On his return home, as he was passing the cabin of a 
brother, about a mile from where the meeting had been held, he 
was suddenly brought to a halt by the question : 

" Brother Taylor, where is your wife ?" 

" Ah," said he, " I forgot her." 

Riding back a half mile, he met Mrs. Taylor, with shoes 
and stockings in hand, wading across Cox's Creek. Mrs. 
Taylor often told the story with much pleasantry. 

Besides Cox's Creek, Mr. Taylor gathered Simpson's Creek 
and Mill Creek churches in Nelson county, both of which en- 
joyed his pastoral labors. In 1785, he and John Whitaker 
constituted Brashears Creek church in Owens fort, near where 
Shelbyville now stands. This was the first church organized 
in what is now Shelby county. Mr. Taylor doubtless laid the 
foundation for several other churches, and perhaps gathered 
some others. He lived to see Salem Association a large and 
prosperous body, and the broad field in which he had been the 
pioneer laborer, well supplied with preachers. 

As the close of his earthly labors and trials drew near, he 
became strongly impressed with the belief that the time of his 
departure was at hand. He showed his family where he wished 
to be buried, and advised them how to act after his departure. 
Having set his house in order, he calmly yielded up his spirit 
to God who gave it, in 1809. His devoted wife followed him 
in about two months. 

William Taylor was the most active and influential minis- 
ter in Salem Association, during the first fifteen years of its ex- 
istence. His moral character was so spotless, and he exhibited, 
in so eminent a degree, the spirit of his divine Master, that he 
made a deep impression on society, throughout his extensive 
field of labor, in favor of the Christian religion. His gifts 
were moderate, but they were employed with diligence and 
singleness of purpose, and the Lord abundantly blessed his 

Mr. Taylor raised four sons and three daughters. Of his 
sons, Isaac Taylor became one of the most popular and useful 
preachers of his day. Of his daughters, Dorcas married 

72 History of Ketituckv Baptists. 

Moses Pierson, an energetic and useful preacher, and Senor 
married Isaac Whitaker who attained to some usefulness in the 

Moses Pierson was the second pastor of Cox's Creek 
church. He was a native of New Jersey, where he v/as born 
about the year 1765. His parents were strict Presbyterians, and 
among his father's relations was a distinguished minister of 
that sect. It is said that young Pierson, at the age of eighteen 
years, formed an attachment to the oldest daughter of Elder 
William Taylor. Soon after this, Mr. Taylor moved to Ken- 
tucky. Young Pierson, finding that he could not be happy 
while absent from his lady love, followed her to the wilds 
of Kentucky, where they were soon afterwards married. 

Moses Pierson was among the first fruits unto the Lord in 
Cox's Creek church, if indeed his was not the first baptism 
administered within the bounds of Salem Association. In 1802, 
he was requested by the church to "speak in public, provided 
one or more ministers be present." In January, 1804, he was 
ordained to the work of the ministry, by Walter Stallard, 
James McQuade, and Warren Cash. In 1807, he was re- 
quested to preach at Cox's Creek, two Sundays in the month. 
On the death of the venerable William Taylor, two years 
later, he became pastor of Cox's Creek church, which position 
he occupied till the first of January, 1825. 

Mr. Pierson was a man of marked peculiarities. He was 
tall, with a large frame, and possessed giant strength. His in- 
dustry was remarkable, and he was physically reckless. "It 
was his regular habit, in warm weather," said his nephew, "to 
spring out of his bed at daybreak, nm to his barn, in his single 
night garment, feed all his stock, and then ' make his toilet,' 
which consisted of one additional garment. He never wore 
shoes in warm weather, when about home. He literally ran 
instead of walking, when going to and from his work, and never 
seemed to need rest."* At one time, hearing a chicken squall, 
on a very dark night, and supposing some "varmint" to be at- 
tacking his henroost, he sprang out of his bed, ran out of doors, 
and, in jumping over a fence, run a snag of an apple tree into 
his abdomen, and was unable to release himself till he called his 

»The late Wm. Taylor, Esq., of Nelson Co. 

Moses Piersoti. 7^ 

family to his assistance. At one time he was relieved of sixty- 
feet of tape-worm, but still retained enough of the voracious 
parasite to give him much annoyance the remainder of his 
earthly pilgrimage. 

Mr. Pierson possessed a meagre education, and his natural 
gifts were not above mediocrity. His voice was extremely 
harsh and unmusical. His frequent use of the word peradven- 
ture, which he pronounced incorrectly, gained for him the title 
of "Old Paradventure" among the facetious young hunters, to 
whom he preached, and his jarring -voice, which his poetical 
auditors fancied resembled the vibrating of a splinter on a fence 
rail during an equinoctial gale, acquired for him the sobriquet 
of " Old-Splinter-on-the-Fence." But under all his disadvant- 
ages he was a preacher of much usefulness. In his ministerial 
calling he used the same energy and industry that characterized 
his farm labor. As if, like Saul of Tarsus, he had determined 
not to build on another man's foundation, he labored principally 
in new settlements and among the destitute. The spirit of the 
Lord wrought with him, and gave him good success. Among 
the churches that he gathered, and to which he ministered for 
a time, were Pond Creek, in Jefferson county, Cedar Creek, in 
Bullitt county, and Little Union, in Spencer county. The first 
two have been dissolved ; the last named is now a leading church 
in Nelson Association, and was many years under the pastoral 
care of the distinguished William Vaughan. 

Mr. Pierson labored in Kentucky about twenty years, at 
a time when his labors were much needed, where the field was 
white unto the harvest and the laborers were few. On the 
death of his wife, in 1823, he went back to New Jersey and mar- 
ried again. This marriage is said not to have been a very happy 
one. On his return to his field of labor it was soon apparent 
that he was gloomy and irritable. In 1825 he resigned his pas- 
toral charge at Cox's Creek, and moved to Indiana. Here he 
continued to preach occasionally. But he engaged in tavern 
keeping, and in his old age was accused of drinking too freely. 
He died about the year 1841, leaving a sullied reputation. 

By his first wife he raised a large and respectable family, 

all of whom, it is believed, moved to Indiana. "In 1810," 

said an aged sister to the author, " I saw Brother Pierson lead 

seven of his children into Cox's creek, at one time, and baptize 

74 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

them."'''^ Among these was his son WilHs, then twelve years 
of age. After his removal to Indiana Willis became a preacher, 
and was said to be a young man of good promise. A few years 
after he commenced preaching he visited Shelbyville, Ken- 
tucky, where he preached with good acceptance. While there 
he died suddenly in a congestive chill. 

Isaac Taylor was the the third pastor of Cox's Creek 
church. He was a son of Elder William Taylor, and was born 
in Pennsylvania, in 1772. At twelve years of age he came with 
his parents to Kentucky. His opportunity for acquiring an ed- 
ucation was very poor. However, he was taught to read and 
write, and enjoyed the advantages of his father's library, which 
consisted of a Bible and hymn-book. When he grew up to 
manhood he became exceedingly fond of the popular sports and 
amusements of the day, which consisted chiefly of dancing, 
hunting and gambling at shooting matches. In all these exer- 
■ercises young Taylor was an adept, and a popular leader. His 
principal occupation was gambling on his comparative skill in 
shooting at a mark with a rifle. He was brave, handsome and 
cheerful, and his graceful bearing, his easy self-possession in 
society, and his brilliant conversational powers, made him the 
center of attraction in every circle in which he moved ; and 
withal, he w'as generous, open-hearted and honorable. Nature 
seemed to have showered on him all her most charming gifts, 
and life was to him a constant round of the most charming 
pleasures the rustic society of the backwoods could afford. 

At the age of 24 years, October 24, 1796, he was married 
to Polly Marshall. Doubtless his pious old parents hoped that 
he would now settle down to a more sober life. But in this 
they were doomed to disappointment. He continued to en- 
gage, with unabated zest, in his round of pleasures, even within 
the memory of his oldest son. But at last the sword of the 
Spirit pierced his heart, and the arrows of the Almighty stuck 
fast in him. 

On the 4th of July, 1801, Isaac Taylor related his experi- 
ence to Cox's Creek church, and was baptized by his venerable 
father. General Joseph Lewis, and Samuel Anderson, after- 
wards a good preacher, were baptized the same year. Mr. 

* The late Mrs. Basey, of Spencer Co. 

Isaac Taylor, 75 

Taylor's ministerial gifts were of slow development. He was 
not licensed till another revival visited the church, in 1810 — the 
same revival during which the pastor, Moses Pierson, baptized 
seven of his own children at one time. 

Isaac Taylor and Samuel Anderson were licensed to preach 
the same day. The latter gave good promise from the begin- 
ning, but the former gave such small evidence of a preaching 
gift, that the church began to fear he would not succeed. After 
awhile, however, he began to manifest some growth. On the 
5th of June, 18 1 3, he and Mr. Anderson were ordained, by 
Walter Stallard, Daniel Walker, Joshua Morris, and Moses 
Pierson. After a short time Samuel Anderson moved to Perry 
county, Indiana, where he was eminently useful and much be- 

Mr. Taylor was soon called to as many of the neighboring 
churches as he could serve. Among these were Mt. Moriah, 
Cedar Creek (where he succeeded the venerable Joshua Mor- 
ris), Mill Creek, Simpson's Creek (now Bloomfield), all in Nel- 
county, and Newhope, which he gathered, in 1829, in Wash- 
ington county. On the resignation of his brother-in-law, Moses 
Pierson, he became pastor of Cox's Creek church, a position 
he occupied till he was called to his reward above. 

From the time he was ordained till his death, Isaac Tay- 
lor was probably the most popular preacher that ever labored 
in Salem Association, and is supposed to have baptized more 
people than any other minister that has lived within the bounds 
of that old fraternity. As if to try to make some amends for 
the time he had wasted in youthful folly and wickedness, he 
seemed to consecrate all his powers to the service of God. His 
gifts were of the most valuable quality; with a warm, affection- 
ate temperament, the most pleasing social qualities, a heart 
overflowing with love to Christ, and a sympathy that pleaded 
tearfully for the salvation of his race, he won all hearts with 
which he came in contact. He maintained a spotless reputa- 
tion, and never betrayed the unlimited confidence which the 
mass of the people reposed in him. He lived almost as in a 
continuous revival. His popularity was so great among the 
young people, that he is supposed to have married about two 
thousand couples. 

The attachment which his people felt towards him in his 

^^6 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

old age may be illustrated by the foUwing anecdote, often told 
by the lamented Elder Smith Thomas. When Mr. Thomas 
was quite a young preacher, and was regarded a very brilliant 
orator, he was invited to preach one Sunday in the month at 
Cox's Creek, " Father Taylor " being the pastor. In his old 
age, Mr. Taylor indulged the habit of frequently blowing his 
nose, with a loud, shrill, but not unmusical sound, during his 
preaching. After Mr. Thomas began to preach at Cox's Creek, 
the question arose in the social circle on one occasion, as to 
which was the best preacher, Mr. Thomas or Mr. Taylor. 
There was some difference of opinion expressed among the 
young people, when Deacon Stone closed the debate by say- 
ing, with an emphasis that would admit of no rejoinder: ''I tell 
yon, I zvotild rather hear Isaac Taylor blow his nose, than to hear 
Smith Thomas preach. 

Mr. Taylor's ministry was not a lengthy one. He began 
to preach late in life, and was taken home before he reached 
his three score years and ten. His last sermon was preached 
at Cedar Creek, on Sunday, March 13, 1842. After religious 
services were over, he went to the house of James Rogers, 
near the meeting house, where he took dinner, apparently in 
good health. He spent the afternoon in reading and con- 
versation, till about dusk, when, yielding to the solicitation of 
some of the family, he laid down to rest. He continued his 
conversation a lew minutes after lying down, when something 
in his manner of breathing attracted attention and some 
of the family hurried to his bedside. He drew but a few more 
breaths, and his spirit was gone to God who gave it. 

Brashears Creek was the next church after Cox's Creek, 
raised up west of Frankfort, and was the first in what is now 
Shelby county. It was constituted of eight members, some 
time during the year 1785, in Owen's fort, near the present 
town of Shelbyville. Seven of the eight original members 
were Martha Whitaker, Col. Aquila Whitaker and his wife, 
Mary, Peggy Garrot, Nathan Garrot, Col. James Ballard, 
and Rebecca, a colored woman. Soon after the church was 
constituted, the Indians became so troublesome that it did 
not meet again, for about two years ; nor did its members hear 
a sermon during that period. In the winter of 17789, 
William Hickman of the Forks of Elkhorn visited Owen's 

Bras hears Creek. j^ 

fort, at the request of two of Bracket Owen's sons. Mr. 
Hickman gives the following account of this visit: "William 
Major, Benjamin Haydon and a lady (Mrs. Pulliam) were to go 
(with me). We dined on the turkey (at Mr. Pulliam's in 
Frankfort,) and crossed the river one at a time, and swam 
our horses by the side of a canoe. When we all got over and 
put our saddles on, the moon shone. We then had twenty 
miles to go, in the night. Sometimes it was snowing, and 
then the moon shining. We crossed Benson nineteen times ; 
at some fords the ice would bear us over: at other fords 
some steps would bear us, the next step break in. We 
continued this disagreeable road till we fell on the waters 
of what was then called Tick creek. We passed a nnmber of 
evacuated cabins. The owners had either been killed, or 
driven off, by the Indians. It was a very cold night. We 
had no watch along, but we judged it must have been two 
o'clock in the morning when we called at the fort gate 
for admittance. The old gentleman was not at home, and the 
old lady had all barred up. It was sometime before we could 
convince her who we were, as she was afraid of a decoy, but at 
last she let us in. The weather being so cold, she had given 
me out. But she soon had a good fire raised, and got us 
a warm supper, or rather breakfast, put all to bed and covered 
us warm. Early in the morning she sent out runners to the 
different forts, and about noon collected one of the rooms 
nearly full of people. About two years before, a small church 
was constituted by two old ministers, brothers William Taylor 
of Nelson and John Whitaker of Jefferson, I believe eight in 
number. The Indians were so very bad among them that they 
scattered and kept up no government. They could not meet 
together, and nobody preached to them till I went, as above 
named. I preached on Saturday night and Sunday to nearly 
the same people, and knew none of them but what went with 
me. On Sunday night, I went about a mile to another fort, and 
I hope the Lord did not send me there in vain. On Monday 
morning I was to start home. This short visit attached our 
hearts to each other. They insisted very hard for me to leave 
them another appointment before I left them. At last I con- 
sented to come again. I set a time in March, but it was with 
difficulty I could leave my people at home, but I went to the 

^8 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

time, on Friday, and continued with them till Wednesday, day 
and night, at three or four different stations. They still urged 
harder for a continuation of my attendance. They promised 
if I would attend them they would send me several loads of 
grain, and would, every time, send a guard to the river to meet 
me and guard me back. I thought I would consult my family 
and the church, whether it would meet their approbation, and 
I would send them word. I did so; they had no objection; I 
sent word, and, in May, went down and staid longer. In that 
tour they came together and agreed to stand as a church on the 
old constitution, and I baptized one member. The next month 
I baptized another. Brother James McOuade stood by me 
from the first, and was my singing clerk. A little after this 
Brother Gano baptized him and two or three others. I re- 
peated my visits to them, and baptized a number. The church 
grew. While going from meeting to meeting, sometimes 
twenty or thirty in a gang, we were guarded by the men. It 
looked more like going to war than to meeting to worship 

After Mr. Hickman ceased his regular visits to Brashears 
Creek church, Joshua Morris, of whom something has been 
said elsewhere, settled among them, and continued to serve 
them as pastor till about the year 1800. This church joined 
Salem Association in October, 1787. At this time it con- 
tained only seven members. This was before its renovation 
by Mr. Hickman. The next account of it we have "\^as when 
it united in forming Long Run Association, in 1803. It then 
embraced loi members. It is probable that James McOuade, 
sr. , succeeded Joshua Morris in the pastoral care of this church, 
and ministered to it till his death, which occurred May 23, 
1828, in his 68th year. During the revival of 1810, it reached 
a membership of 1 12. In 1843, its membership had increased 
to 123. About this time its name was changed to Clear 
Creek. After this the neighboring churches that had sprung 
up around it, and especially the Shelbyville church, absorbed 
its members till sometime after the year 1858, it ceased to 

This was the mother church in this region of the State 

*HickrQan's narrative, pp. 28, 29. 

Rush Branch. 7g 

and from it sprang all the early churches of Shelby county. It 
served well during its period, and left behind it a numerous 
and prosperous offspring. 

Rush Branch was the first church gathered in what is 
now Lincoln county. It was constituted about two and a half 
miles from the present location of Stanford, in the year 1785. 
John Bailey was its founder and its first pastor. It united in 
forming South Kentucky Association, in 1787. It went into 
the general union in 1801, and became a member of the South 
District Association. In 1803 there was a rupture in South 
District Association on account of some doctrinal errors, pro- 
pagated by some of the ministers. One of the factions resumed 
the name of South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists. 
Rush Branch church adhered to this division, and its subse- 
quent history is not know to the author. 

John Bailey was the founder and first pastor of Rush 
Branch church. He was a man of superior talent and great 
energy, and, for a number of years, occupied a high position, 
both as a preacher ot the gospel and a legislator. He was a 
member of the convention that formed the first constitution of 
Kentucky, in 1792, as also of that which formed the second 
constitution of the State, in 1799. He was not a politician, 
however, but made preaching the great work of his life. The 
distinguished Judge John Rowan regarded him the ablest pul- 
pit orator in Kentucky of his generation. 

John Bailey was the son of George Bailey, who was of 
English extraction, and was born in Northumberland county^ 
Virginia, May 4, 1748. His mother's maiden name was Brad- 
ley. His father died young, leaving a widow and two small 
children, John and Peter. John received very little education 
in his childhood, having attended a common school only a few 
months. But his mother was a strong-minded Christian 
woman, and carefully trained him up in the fear of the Lord. 
He professed conversion, and united with a Baptist church in 
his youth. He commenced exhorting at about the age of 
eighteen. After preaching for a time in his native county, he 
moved to Pittsylvania county. Here he gained considerable 
reputation as a pulpit orator. After having twice visited the 
Western country, looking about as far West as the Bear Grass 
settlement, he moved to Kentucky, and settled near the present 

So History of Kentiickv Baptists. 

site of Stanford, in Lincoln county, in the fall of 1784. Here 
he commenced preaching among the people of the new settle- 
ment. The year following he gathered Rush Branch church, 
and, afterwards, McCormack's and Green River churches, and 
perhaps others. 

Sometime after the year 1792 he moved to Logan county, 
from whence he was sent as a delegate to the convention 
which formed the second constitution of Kentucky, in 1799. 
Soon after this he moved back to Lincoln county, where he 
devoted his time to preaching. He refused to receive any 
compensation for preaching. He traveled and preached very 
extensively, and was said to be not only one of the ablest, but 
also one of the most popular preachers in Kentucky. 

About the year 1800 it began to be rumored that Mr. Bai- 
ley had adopted the theory of the Restorationists. He had not 
yet preached it from the pulpit. It is claimed, indeed, by his 
especial friends, that he never did preach it from the pulpit at 
any time. Others of his admirers claimed that he preached 
the chimerical notion "in such a manner as not to offend the 
most delicate ear. " However, it gained currency among his 
brethren, and began to cause disturbance in some of the 
churches. His great popularity in the church of which he 
was a member prevented the exercise of discipline against 

When the South District Association met at McCormack's, 
in 1803, it was known that there was an intention formed to 
investigate Mr. Bailey's doctrine before that body. Mr. Bailey 
determined that this should not be done. As soon, therefore, 
as the association was organized he succeeded in getting the 
floor. He made a speech of considerable length in his own de- 
fense. Then making an impassioned appeal to the messengers 
to guard against the usurpation of tyrannical power by asso- 
ciations he withdrew from the body, and invited all who 
adopted his views on that subject to follow him. His personal 
popularity and the power of his eloquence made the people 
forget or ignore his heresy, and he drew after him a majority 
of the association. This caused an immediate division of that 
body. A majority of the churches adhered to Mr. Bailey's 
party. Each party claimed the name and prerogatives of South 
District Association. The corresponding associations acknowl-- 

John Bailey. 8l 

edged the minority, and rejected the correspondence of the ma- 
jority. After this Mr. Bailey's party resumed the name of 
South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists. 

In connection with Thomas J. Chilton and his son, Thomas 
Chilton, and some other ministers of considerable ability, Mr. 
Bailey labored with much diligence to build up the association 
with which he was now connected. His moral character was 
unspotted, and he labored abundantly. He retained his popu- 
larity and the grateful affection of his people to the end. He 
gave no prominence to his obnoxious doctrine, and the churches 
among which he labored seem not to have become infected with 
it to any considerable extent. 

On the 3d of July, 18 16, he left the walks of men and went 
to give an account of his stewardship to Him who is the right- 
ful Judge of all men. Those who knew him best reckoned him 
a good and great man.* 

Head OF Boone's Creek church, according to Asplund, 
was constituted in 1785. It was located in Fayette county, 
and is supposed to have been gathered by Joseph Craig. It 
united with South Kentucky Association, either at its constitu- 
tion or the year following. In 1790 it contained 74 members. 
This is the last account we have of it, except that it was soon 
afterwards dissolved. 

Joseph Craig is supposed to have been the first and only 
pastor of the Separate Baptist church on the Head of Boones 
creek. Mr. Craig, though a preacher of small gifts and marked 
eccentricities, was a man of zeal and piety, was among the 
early pioneers to the great West, and deserves to be remem- 
bered by those who love the cause he aided in establishing in 
the face of danger and death, in the savage-infested wilderness 
of the Mississippi valley. 

Joseph Craig was the seventh child, and fifth son, of Toli- 
ver Craig, and a younger brother of the well-known Lewis and 
Elijah Craig. He was born in Orange county, Virginia, about 
the year 1747. In early life he, with all his father's family, was 
converted to Christianity, and was baptized under the ministry 
of Samuel Harris and Dutton Lane. He commenced exhorting 

■For the facts of Mr. Bailey's life the author is indebted to bis grand- 
son, Judge W. G. Bailey. 

82 Histoty of Kentucky Baptists. 

sinners to repent soon after his conversion. With other Bap- 
tist ministers of his day, he was called on to endure hardness for 
the Master's cause. At one time, he, with several other 
preachers, was arrested at Guinea's Bridge church, in Spottsyl- 
vania county, Virginia, by virtue of a warrant issued by a 
magistrate. On his way to the magistrate's house, in custody 
of an officer, "Mr. Craig, thinking it no dishonor to cheat the 
divil, as he termed it, slipped off the horse and took to the 
bushes. They hunted him with dogs, but Asahel like, being 
light of foot, he made good his retreat."* Chasing Baptist 
preachers with dogs, as our sportsmen chase toxes now, seems 
tohavebeen a favorite amusement of the Episcopalian Vir^ 
ginians of the last century. Speaking of Joseph Craig, his bio- 
grapher says: "I do not recollect, though a zealous preacher, 
that his persecutors ever got him into prison. He had a method 
to baffle them. He was once preaching at a place, and the 
officers came after him. Stepping out at a back door he ran 
into a swamp, supposing he was safe, but they took his track 
with a gang of dogs. To evade the dogs, he betook himself to a 
tree, from which his pursuers shook him down as if he was a 
wild beast, and demanded his going with them to court. After 
reasoning with them awhile he refused to go. But they forced 
him on a horse, and perhaps tied his hands. On the way he 
reasoned thus: Good men ought not to go to prison, and if 
you will put so good a man as Jo Craig in prison, I will have 
no hand in it, and threw himself off the horse, and would neither 
ride nor walk; behaving perhaps as David did, before Achish, 
King of Gath. — 1 Sam. xxi: lo. They let him go."f 

Joseph Craig came to Kentucky at a very early date — per- 
haps with his brother Lewis and his traveling church, in 1781. 
He was never more than a moderate exhorter, but he maintain- 
ed an unblemished reputation, and was zealous and diligent in 
his calling, "No man in the bounds of our acquaintance," 
says his biographer, ' 'manifested more zeal in the cause of religion 
than Joseph Craig. At times his zeal seemed intemperate, as 
if the man had not common sense, and yet there was some- 
thing in him more original than was found in other men." 
He was unsuited to the pastoral office, and probably occu- 

*Semple's His. Va. Bap., p. 156. tHis. Ten Ch's, p 281. 

Joseph Craig. 83 

pied but little time in that position. But he was a faithful 
"helper to the truth" according to his ability. He labored in 
the ministry about fifty-nine years, and, at the age of about 
eighty years, went to receive his reward. 

Mr. Craig avoided speculation, but was prudent and dili- 
gent in his temporal business, and acquired a good property. 
He raised six sons and four*daughters, and "taught them 
all the laudable habit of industry. Find a child of his where 
you may, he is surrounded with affluence, and is of respect- 
able standing among men. Nearly all of them have also a 
place in the church of Christ."* 

Many anecdotes, some of which are still familiarly re- 
peated, have been related of the eccentric Joseph Craig, of 
which the following appear to be well authenticated. On 
one occasion when pack-saddles were in much demand for 
conveying goods along the narrow traces through the wilder- 
ness, on pack-horses, Mr. Craig was preaching to a congre- 
gation assembled in the woods, when casting his eyes up- 
ward he said: "Brethren, there is a fork that would make 
a good pack-saddle, " and then continued his discourse with- 
out making a pause. Once, after crossing a stream in a 
ferry-boat, and offering to pay the ferryman, the man of the oar 
said, "I will charge you nothing but to pray for me. " Mr. Craig 
invited him ashore. "Not now," said the ferryman, "I am 
busy — pray for me at some other time." "No," replied Mr. 
Craig, "I will not go away indebted to you." The ferryman 
yielded, and Mr. Craig offered up a fervent prayer for the sal- 
vation of his soul. 

After Mr. Craig had been trying to preach about a score 
of years his brother Lewis, fearing that he would only injure 
the holy cause he was advocating, attempted to dissuade him 
from making any further effort to preach, saying to him: "You 
have been trying to preach twenty years, and I have never 
known of your being instrumental in the conversion of but one 
person." "Thank God," said Mr. Craig, "if Christ has 
saved one soul by me, in twenty years, I am ready to labor 
twenty more for the salvation of another." Being called to 
see a sick niece, after offering a fervent prayer for her recovery, 

History of Ten Churches, p. 282. 

84 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

he took her by the hand and said: Now, Hannah, don't die. 
You have a good husband and many fine children, some of 
them yet to raise. If you die now it will be the meanest thing 
you ever did in your life." When Mrs. Graves recovered she 
asked her uncle what he meant. "Well," said he, "I was 
afraid you would become willing to die, and I feared if you did 
the Lord would take you away, %nd I did not want you to die 
and leave your husband and children." 



Great Crossing Church was the third organization of the 
kind on the north side of Kentucky river. It was located in 
what is now Scott county, near the present site of Georgetown. 
Colonel Robert Johnson, who had moved from Bryan's Station, 
in the Spring of 1784, was probably the chief mover in procur- 
ing the organization of a church at this point. There, were at 
this time, several active preachers living north of the Kentucky 
river, and it is probable that different ones preached in Colonel 
Johnson's fort, before the church was organized : so that the 
gathering of this body can not be attributed to any one preach- 
er. We may be sure, however, that Lewis Craig, John Taylor 
and William Hickman were always at the front. 

Great Crossing church was constituted. May 28, 1785, by 
Lewis Craig and John Taylor. The following persons went 
into the constitution : Wm. Cave, James Suggett, Sr. , Robert 
Johnson, Thomas Ficklin, John Suggett, Julius Gibbs, Robert 
Bradley, Bartlett Collins, Jemima Johnson, Susannah Cave, 
Sarah Shipp, Katy Herndon, Jane Herndon, Hannah Bradley, 
Betsy Leeman and Betsy Collins. The next year after this 
church was constituted, Elijah Craig came from Virginia, and 
settled on the ground now occupied by Georgetown. He was 
immediately called to the partoral care of Great Crossing church. 
This position he occupied for a period of about five years, when 
a difficulty arose in the church, which resulted in his exclusion. 
The church was divided in this affair, which grew out of a con- 
tention between Mr. Craig and Joseph Redding, a very popu- 
lar preacher, who had recently come from South Carolina, and 
settled near Great Crossing. After causing much disturbance 
in that and the surrounding churches, the difficulty was finally 
adjusted. Mr. Craig was restored, and entered into the con- 


86 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

stitution of a new church, then called McConnel's Run, but 
since known as Stamping Ground. 

In 1793, Joseph Redding was chosen pastor ot Great Cross- 
ing church, and continued in that office till 18 10. During this 
period the church had general prosperity, though it had some 
seasons of coldness. During the great Revival of 1800 — 3 Mr. 
Redding baptized,, for the membership of this church, 361 

In 1 8 10 James Suggett became pastor of the church. The 
church continued to prosper under his ministry, about fifteen 
years, during which it enjoyed several precious revivals. Jacob 
Creath succeded James Suggett, but preached for the church 
only one year, when he was succeded by Silas M. Noel. 

Mr. Noel took charge of the church the first Saturday in 
January, 1827. There were twenty-seven additions to the 
church by experience and baptism, that year. During the year 
1 828, a very remarkable revival occurred, under the preaching 
of the pastor, Ryland T. Dillard, and others. During the year 
Mr. Noel baptized for the fellowship of this church, 359 mem- 
bers. Among them were seventeen Indians, students in the 
Choctaw Academy at Blue Spring. After this revival, the 
church numbered 588 members. From this time to the pre- 
sent, it has had many pastors, and has enjoyed a good degree 
of prosperity. It has been served by many able ministers, 
among whom maybe named John L. Waller, John Bryce, Wm. 
F. Broadus, James D. Black, Howard Malcom, Duncan R. 
Campbell, and Basil Manley, Jr. 

Great Crossing has been a leading church in Elkhorn As- 
sociation from the constitution of that old fraternity to the pre- 
sent. It has, since the disturbance between Craig and Redding 
in its early years, had fewer troubles from factions, than most 
of the old mother churches. During the stormy period that 
gave birth to Campbellism, out of a membership of nearly 600, 
it only lost sixteen by that turbulent faction. Its numerous 
daughters now cluster around it, and it is not so strong as in 
the days of yore.* 

"•••For the facts in the history of this ancient fraternity, the author is in- 
debted to Professor J. N. Bradley's excellent "History of Great Crossing 

Great Crossing and Taics Creek ehurehes. 87 

Elijah Craig was the first pastor of the "Old Crossing" 
church, and, while he was not as useful to the cause of Christ 
in Kentucky as many others of the pioneers, he deserves to be 
remembered for his eminent services among the early Baptists 
of Virginia. He labored and suffered much amid the fiery per- 
secution that tried men's souls in the old mother State, and few 
preachers in the Old Dominion were more laborious and useful 
than he, 

Elijah Craig was the son of Toliver Craig, and a brother of the 
famous Lewis and the eccentric Joseph Craig. He was born in 
Orange county, Virginia, about the year 1743, was raised up 
in his native county, and like his brothers, received but a limited 
education. He was awakened to a knowledge of his lost con- 
dition, under the preaching of the renowned David Thomas, 
in the year 1764. The next year, he and others were encour- 
aged, by Samuel Harris, to hold meetings in his neighborhood, 
for the encouragement of the young converts, and their mutual 
edification. Elijah Craig's tobacco barn was their meeting 
house. Here Mr, Craig began his ministry, as did several 
other young men, who afterwards became valuable preachers. 
As has been related elsewhere, Elijah Craig traveled into North 
Carolina to get James Read to come and baptize the young 
converts, himself being one of them. Mr. Read returned with 
him, and baptized as many as were approved for that ordinance. 
Elijah Craig was among those baptized : this was in the year 
1766, and a year after Mr. Craig began his ministry, He now 
devoted himself to preaching with great zeal. He was ordain- 
ed, in May, 1771, at which time he became the pastor of Blue 
Run church. Some time after this, the sheriff came to where 
he was plowing, arrested him, and carried him before a magis- 
trate, on the charge of having preached the gospel contrary to 
law. He was committed to jail, where he was fed on rye bread 
and water. He preached to the people through the grates dur- 
ing his imprisonment. It was during the trial of Mr. Craig, 
that a certain lawyer, advising the Court to release him, said in 
substance : "The Baptists are like abed of camomile ; the more 
they are trodden the more they spread." This proved true; 
their preaching through prison grates enkindled their own en- 
thusiasm, and produced a greater effect on the people than if 
the preachers had been at liberty. After remaining in Culpeper 

88 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

jail one month, Mr. Craig was released. After this he was ho- 
nored with a term in Orange county jail, for a similar breach of 
the law. His constant labor in the ministry, and his close ap- 
plication to the study of the Bible, in a few years, developed 
the tobacco-barn exhorter into one of the most popular and in- 
fluential preachers in Virginia. 

During the fierce and long continued struggle for religious 
liberty, Mr. Craig was frequently sent by the General Associ- 
ation, and General Committee of the Virginia Baptists, as their 
delegate to the Legislature, to aid in forwarding that object. 

Another, and perhaps the greatest evidence of his popula- 
rity, was evinced in electing him to a singular and exalted office, 
among modern Baptists. In the year 1774, the question was 
sprung in the General Association of Virginia Baptists, as to 
whether all the offices mentioned in Ephesians4: 11; were 
still in use in the churches of Christ. After a long and heated 
debate, the question was decided in the affirmative, and the As- 
sociation proceeded at once to elect and consecrate two Apostles 
for the north side of James river ; the lot fell on John Waller 
and Elijah Graig. Samuel Harris was appointed an Apostle for. 
the south side of James river. Tiiese Apostles exercised no 
real authority, and their office was about equivalent to that of 
an Evangelist, appointed by our modern General Associations. 
It had however a pretentious name, and found so little favor 
among the churches, that it was discontinued at the end of one 
year's experience. These three men were the only Baptist 
Apostles who have lived since the death of the original twelve. 
Elijah Craig continued a career of eminent usefulness till 1786, 
when he removed to Kentucky. This move was unfortunate, 
both for the cause of Christ and himself. He was an enterpris- 
ing business man. The new country offered excellent facilities 
for profitable speculation. The temptation was too strong. 
He was soon overwhelmed in worldly business. He bought 
one thousand acres of land, and laid off a town on it, at first 
called Lebanon, but afterwards, Georgetown. The speculation 
succeeded. He erected a saw and grist mill, then the first full- 
ing mill, the first rope works, and the first paper mill in Ken- 
tucky. It seems that he had no intention to abandon the min- 
istry, but vainly imagined tnat he could serve God and mammon 
both. He became irritable, and indulged a spirit of fault find- 

Great Crossing and Tates Creek cJiurcJi. 89 

ing. He wrote two pamphlets, one to prove that a settled pastor 
of a church is not entitled to any compensation for his services 
in that capacity. The other was titled "A Portrait of Jacob 
Creath." They were both written in a bad spirit, and the latter 
is said to have been exceedingly bitter. This not only involved 
him in much trouble, but threw the whole of Elkhorn Associa- 
tion into confusion, and resulted in much harm to the cause of 
Christ. But it would be unprofitable to follow him through 
his varied and annoying conflicts. He continued to preach 
till near the time of his departure. He was accused of no im- 
morality except his petulant fault finding ; and it is confidently 
believed that he was a child of God, and a sincere man ; but he 
allowed satan to take advantage of the weakness of the flesh, 
and do him much harm. After saying he was considered 
the greatest preacher of the three brothers, John Taylor pro- 
ceeds to speak of him as follows : 

"In a very large association, in Virginia, Elijah Craig was 
among the most popular, for a number of years. His preach- 
ing was of the most solemn style, his appearance, as a man who 
had just come from the dead, of a delicate habit, a thin visage, 
large eyes and mouth, of great readiness of speech, the sweet 
melody of his voice, both in preaching and singing, bore all 
down before it ; and when his voice was extended, it was like 
the loud sound of a sweet trumpet. The great favor of his 
preaching, commonly brought many tears from the hearers, 
and many, no doubt, were turned to the Lord by his preaching. 
He was several times a prisoner of the Lord for preaching. 
He came to Kentucky later than his brothers. His turn for 
speculation did harm every way. He was not as great a peace- 
maker in the church as his brother Lewis, and that brought 
trouble on him. But from all his troubles he was relieved by 
death, when perhaps he did not much exceed sixty years of age, 
after serving in the ministry, say forty years."* 

Joseph Redding was the second pastor of Great Crossing 
church. He came to Kentucky in the prime of life. An orator 
of no mean ability, possessing great force of character, and in- 
spired with a zeal that never flagged, "he at once," it has been 
said, "became the most popular preacher in Kentucky."! 

*Hi8tory of Ten churches. 
tHistory of Great Crossing church. 


go History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Joseph Redding was born in Germantown, Fauquier county, 
Virginia, about the year i750. His father was of Welsh extrac- 
tion, and his mother a native of Germany. His parents both 
died when he was young, and left seven children to be raised 
by their uncle, William Redding. This uncle being poor, could 
afford them but little opportunity to obtain an education 
When Joseph arrived at manhood, he could barely read a little 
"by spelling the words as he went." He could also write 
some. He was raised an Episcopalian, and was intensely 
bigoted. At the age of about eighteen years, he married Anna 
Weakly, "a prudent, sensible and very industrious woman." 
Although so young, he weighed about two hundred pounds, 
and was ready and willing to defend his religion with his fist. 
Not far from the time of Mr. Redding's marriage, the Baptists, 
then derisively called Newlights, began to preach in Fauquier. 
Mr. Redding held them in great contempt, and would by no 
means go to one of their meetings. "But God had marked the 
young man for his own," and found means to reach his heart, 
in an unexpected way. Mr. Redding lived on a public road. 
On a stormy night, about the time of which we speak, a young 
wagoner, named Joseph Baker, obtained leave to stay over 
night at Mr. Redding's- As the young man started out after 
supper to look after his team, he was heard to groan. Isaac 
Redding, an older brother of Joseph, remarked that the young 
•wagoner was a Baptist, and that he intended to confute him 
when he came in. As Isaac was regarded the better scholar 
of the two, it was arranged that he should conduct the argu- 
ment, and, as Joseph was much the larger man, he was to do 
the fighting, if this became necessary. Wholly unconscious 
of the arrangement, Baker came in, and Isaac began the assault. 
Baker meekly responded, and the argument continued to a late 
hour. Isaac was so much worsted in the argument, that Joseph 
became irritated, and, to avoid insulting his guest, went to bed. 
Isaac and Baker continued the argument till the former was 
silenced, and began to weep and tremble ; for the spirit of the 
Lord found way to his heart. The disputants went to bed, but 
Isaac could not sleep, for the pungency of his conviction. Jo- 
seph's anger was so hot that he could not sleep, and he resolved 
to whip his brother Isaac, in the morning, for not defending his 
religion better. When the brothers got up in the morning, the 

Great Crossing and Tates Creek cJnurhes. 9 1 

wagoner was gone on his way, and Joseph only assaulted his 
brother with bitter words, to which the latter gave no response, 
but continued to weep and tremble. That day the brothers, 
went to a log-rolling. Joseph resolved to have some fun at his 
brother's expense. He soon told the workmen that a Newlight 
wagoner had converted Isaac last night. The men became hi- 
larious, and presently three or four of them, of which Joseph 
was one, seized Isaac, carried him to a charred log, and black- 
ed his face. Isaac made no resistance, but the tears rolled 
down his blackened cheeks, and he trembled in all his joints, 
like Belshazar. The men were struck with awe, and one of 
them cried out in alarm. Joseph was pierced to the heart and 
became alarmed about his soul. 

Isaac Redding was soon converted, and at once began to 
preach. He was eminently a good man. His zeal for the sal- 
vation of men never seemed to abate. So watchful was he for 
the interest of his church, that he seemed to be able to antici- 
pate any revival of religion, with almost unerring certainty. 
"He came the nearest to possessing the spirit of prophecy, " 
says John Taylor, "of any man I ever was acquainted with." 
He was well versed in the scriptures, and was wise in council ; 
but his capacity for communicating was poor, and he probably 
never was ordained. He came very early to Kentucky, and 
aided in building up the first churches. He died a member of 
Old Clear Creek church in Woodford county, about the year 

Joseph Redding, after the frolic of blacking his brother's 
face, became so alarmed about his soul, that he sent for William 
Marshall to come and preach at his house. He was soon after- 
ward converted, and was baptized by Mr. Marshall. This was 
in the year 17? I. He was then twenty-one years old, and had 
a wife and two children. He at once began to preach with 
flaming zeal. He and his brother Isaac labored together among 
their neighbors. The effect was wonderful. The surrounding 
country was soon ablaze with religious enthusiam. "How 
marvelous are the works of God's grace," says John Taylor.' 
"A sigh or a groan from a poor illiterate wagoner produces 
this dispute with the Reddings, which resulted in their conver- 
sion, and, within six months time under their ministry, the 

p2. Histoiy of Kentucky Baptists. 

neighborhood is aUve with zealous saints. "'■' It was of this time 
that the seh'-righteous John Taylor said , "under the preaching 
of the Reddings, the poor rags of my own righteousness took 
fire and soon burned me to death." Mr. Taylor was soon con- 
verted, and became a co-laborer with the Reddings. Of Joseph 
Redding, Mr. Taylor says: "His gifts at that time were small, 
but his soul was in the work. He had the spirit of preaching, 
and would be warning or persuading sinners, in his sleep. Per- 
haps no man exceeded him in zeal, both in making and filling 
appointments. He considered an appointment to preach too 
sacred a thing to neglect. I will give an instance or two. V,'Ith 
myself, he had a meeting appointed, about fifteen miles from his 
house, I went to his house the over night for an early start. 
He lived in the woods, and had neither stable nor pasture. Of 
course we belled our horses and turned them in the woods. 
The night proved rainy and the next morning very wet. We 
searched for our horses till eight or nine o'clock, and failed to 
find them. We did not hesitate a moment to go on foot, a 
rough mountainous road, then raining. And a most heavy day 
of rain it proved. We had to travel in a half run to reach the 
place, and met not more than twenty people. At another time 
we had appointments for a week or ten days. I got to his house 
the over night. The first meeting was twenty miles distant. 
The weather was hot. We did not hesitate to go on foot. We 
set off at sunrise, and got to meeting in time. And a blessed 
meeting we had ; for the Lord seemed to much bless the peo- 
ple. The next day we traveled on foot, over mountainous 
ground, thirty-eight miles, before and after meeting, and both 
of us preached to the people. After this our stages were 
shorter. The whole tour was about a hundred and fifty miles, 
about the head waters of the Potomac river. I give these inst- 
ances of zeal as a sample of Mr. Redding's whole life in the 
ministry, which, from beginning to end, was upwards of forty 
years, "f 

In 1772, only about nine months after he began to preach, 
Mr. Redding moved to South Carolina, a distance of five or six 
hundred miles. While there he became associated with aTun- 

*Iu substance. 

tJohn Taylor's Life of Joseph Redding, abridged. 

Great Cfossing and Tatcs Creek cimrches. 93 

ker preacher of the name of David Martin, a man of consider- 
able talent. Under Martin's [influence, he became tinctured 
with Arminianism. Not being satisfied with the religious 
society of South Carolina, he returned to Virginia the following 
Spring. With his Arminian views, he soon encountered his 
pastor, William Marshall, who was an extreme predestinarian. 
The dispute became unpleasant, and Mr. Redding moved to 
Hampshire county, which was then the frontier settlement of 
Virginia. He was the only preacher in this county. But he 
strove to spread the gospel all over his vast field. While the 
revolutionary war was raging, and destroying some of the 
churches in the older settlements, he built up a number of 
flourishing new ones on the frontier. 

Up to the time of his removal to Hampshire county, he 
had associated his ministry with that of any preacher he hap- 
pened to fall in with, and had thought but little about the differ- 
ences of doctrines. But now, perhaps for the first time, he fel] 
in wuth the Methodists. Some of them were skillful in dispute. 
Mr. Redding, who had naturally a strong, discriminating mind, 
discovered in their teachings and practices, what appeared to 
him great inconsistency. He then thought of his own incon- 
sistency in laboring with them, in building up these errors. 
He now became a close student of the Bible, studying sys- 
tematic theology from its sacred pages. His progress was rapid, 
notwithstanding his many disadvantages. He soon became a 
systematic preacher, and ultimately an able theologian. 

In the Fall of 1779, with a company of emigrants, princi- 
pally members of the churches he had built up, he started to move 
to Kentucky. The company took a boat at Redstone. They 
had not proceeded far before they wrecked their boat. One of 
the company cried out ; "Mr. Redding, what shall we do ?" He 
replied, "Throw me overboard," by which he meant to inti- 
mate that he had erred in leaving his field of labor, to go to a 
new country. The company had to remain till Springs when 
they induced Mr. Redding to continue the journey with them. 
They arrived at Bear Grass, in March or April, 1780, after 
remaining out during the hardest winter that had ever been 
known in the climate. The Indians were unusually troublesome 
at this time. The people at Bear Grass were all shut up in the 
forts. Mrs. Redding was probably the first preacher's wife that 

9^ History of Kentucky Baptists. • 

pressed the soil of Kentucky with her feet. But she did not 
long grace the new country. She buried one of her children at 
Bear Grass, and set out with the rest of her family to return 
through the great mountain wilderness, to the home they had 
left the Fall before. In June the broken family entered the 
same house they had vacated the preceding Autumn. Mr. 
Redding could opportunity to preach in Kentucky, at 
this time, on account of the fierceness of the Indian war. For 
this reason he hurried back to his former field of labor. "Hamp- 
shire county was probably a hundred miles square, and Mr. 
Redding the only Baptist preacher in it. There were many 
Methodists, against whose doctrines he was now a mighty war- 
rior." He was pastor of four or five churches, and mission- 
ary for the whole region of destitution around him. He con. 
tinued to occupy this field, with his usual zeal and diligence, 
about four years, when again, in the Spring of 1784, he moved 
to South Carolina. Having become well established in the 
doctrines of grace, thanks to the Arminian Methodists, he was 
cordially received by the South Carolina Baptists, and at once 
entered upon a course of great usefulness. He was one of the 
several preachers who supplied the pulpit of the Charleston 
church, till Mr. Furman became its pastor. Here his useful- 
ness continued, till 1789, when once more he set out for thg 
West, He arrived in Kentucky in October of that year, just in 
time to attend the sitting of Elkhorn Association. "He was 
appointed to preach on Sunday, with others," says an eye- 
witness, "and as a new broom sweeps clean. Redding swept all 
before him. Gano himself was not his equal." Whether 
Redding became a little puffed up by the extravagant laudations 
of the people, or whether the manifest preference for his 
preaching excited some jealousy in the other preachers, it is 
evident that there was not the most cordial harmony existing 
between him and his colaborers in the ministry, for a consider- 
able length of time. Disregarding this, he entered the ample 
field of labor with the same indefatigable zeal and energy that 
had characterized his whole ministry, and met with the same 
success that had followed his labors elsewhere. He was im. 
mensely popular with the churches. The unfortunate difficulty 
between him and Elijah Craig has already been referred to. 
After this was adjusted. Redding became pastor of Great Cros- 

The Johnsons. 95 

sing church, in 1793. Here he preached with abundant suc- 
cess, until April, 1810, when he resigned and was succeeded by 
James Suggett, whom he had baptized, and who had married 
his daughter. 

On resigning the care of Great Crossing church he took 
charge of Dry Run, in the same county. Here he continued 
to labor the remainder of his earthly life. He took an active 
part in the formation of Licking Association, of which Dry Run 
church became a constituent member. He continued to labor 
incessantly, till a third stroke of paralysis terminated his earthly 
course. He passed away from earth in 181 5, aged about 65, 

"Joseph Redding," says John Taylor, "was a prodigy 
among men." He was self-raised, self-educated, and self-reli- 
ant. Although not unsocial, he seemed not to need the sym- 
pathy or advice of his race. He planned and executed for him- 
self, as if he alone was responsible for every care with which he 
was connected. He formed and advanced his own opinions as if 
they were incontrovertible. From the hour of his conversion 
he consecrated his life to one object, and, without regard to the 
surrounding circumstances, steadily pursued it to the end. 
His work done, he went to give an account to Him, in whose 
service he had spent his life with a single heart. 

The Johnsons deserve to be remembered in connection 
with Great Crossing church. Colonel Robert Johnson emi- 
grated to Kentucky at a very early period. For a time he 
lived at Bryants Station, but in the spring of 1784, he moved on 
his farm near the Great Crossing. Here he went into the con- 
stitution of Great Crossing church, of which he remained a 
member till his death. 

He was an active church member, and was prominent in 
the affairs of the State, both in its legislature and in its wars 
with the Indians. James Johnson was a son of Colonel Rob- 
ert Johnson, and came with his father to Kentucky in early 
childhood. He united with the church, September i, 1800, and 
was baptized by Joseph Redding. He was clerk of the church 
about twenty-five years. He served as lieutenant colonel, in the 
British war of 18 12, and was in the battle of the Thames. He 
was elected to Congress, in 1825, and died while serving in 
that body, in December, 1826. 

g6 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

John T. Johnson, another son of Colonel Robert Johnson, 
joined the same church, in 1825, and served as its clerk two 
years, when he was carried off with the faction led by Alexan- 
der Campbell. He was licensed to exercise his gift, in Great 
Crossing church, but was not ordained. He served a term in 
Congress, and became a prominent preacher among the Camp- 
bellites. He died December 17, 1856. 

Richard M. Johnson, another son of Colonel Robert 
Johnson, was born in Kentucky, in 1781. He was one of the 
most distinguished citizens, not only of Kentucky, but of the 
United States, of his generation. He was a colonel in the war 
of 1812, was a member, at different times, of both houses of 
Congress, and was Vice-President of the United States during 
Martin VanBuren's first Administration. He died a member 
of a Baptist church, in I850. 

William Johnson, another son of Colonel Robert John- 
son, was born in Orange county, Virginia, in 1778, and came 
with his parents to Kentucky, in 1781. He served as a major 
under General Harrison in the last British war. He died at 
his home in Scott county, in i8i4, leaving two sons, George 
W. and Madison C. The former was Governor of Kentucky 
under the Confederate government, and fell in the battle of Shi- 
loh. The latter is a distinguished lawyer and banker. 

Tates Creek church of Regular Baptists was located in 
Madison county, between Boonesboro' and the present town of 
Richmond. It was probably gathered by John Tanner, and 
was constituted in the year 1785.* It was a small body, at 
the beginning, and was of so slow a growth that, in 1790, it 
contained only thirty-nine members, while the Separate Baptist 
church of the same name, and in the same neighborhood, con- 
tained a membership of two hundred and ten. It was one of 
the six churches that formed Elkhorn Association, the same 
year in which it was constituted. In 18 ii, it embraced a mem- 
bership of only forty-seven. But small as its membership was 
it split in two, and the smaller faction, containing only nine 
members, was acknowledged by Licking Association, of which 
it became a member. It is probable that both of these factions 
were dissolved. 

* Some say two years earlier. 

John Tanner. g^ 

John Tanner was early a member of Tates Creek church 
of Regular Baptists, and was probably its founder and first pas- 
tor. Of the time and place of his birth, we have no certain 
knowledge. The earliest account we have of him is that, in 
1773, he raised up a small church in Rocky Swamp, in Halifax 
county, North Carolina. He was soon after this pastor of a 
church of Separate Baptists, in Edgecomb county, of the sam^ 
State. Here he was engaged in a laudable enterprise, of which 
a brief account may be interesting to the reader. 

As early as 1695, and a number of years before we have 
any direct historical account of any Baptists in Virginia, there 
were many individual Baptists, scattered along the eastern coast 
of North Carolina, supposed to have been driven out of Virginia 
by the intolerant ecclesiastical laws of that colony. They were 
General Baptists, and very ignorant of the true nature ot Chris- 
tianity. They had something of the form of godliness, but 
knew little of its power. By the year 1752, sixteen churches 
had been gathered, which met annually in "a yearly meeting. " 
About this time, they were visited by John Gano, and, a year 
afterwards, by Benjamin Miller and Peter Vanhorn,* from 
Philadelphia Association. These eminent ministers found them 
in a deplorable condition. They preached among them. Many 
of them confessed that they knew nothing about experimental 
religion. They " openly confessed they were baptized before 
they believed, and some of them said they did it in hope of 
getting to heaven by it. Some of their ministej's confessed that 
they had endeavored to preach, and administer the ordinance 
of baptism to others, after they were baptized, before they 
were converted themselves ; and so zealous were they for bap- 
tism (as some of them expected salvation by it) that one of 
their preachers confessed, if he could get any willing to be bap- 
tized, and it was in the night, that he would baptize them by 
fire-light, for fear they should get out of the notion of it before 
the next morning, "f Many of these people, however, could 
give a good account of their conversion before their baptism ; 
and some of their preachers were pious, evangelical men. Of 
these, the missionaries formed Regular Baptist churches. Such 
as had been converted after baptism, were required to be re- 

* Benedict, Vol. 2, p. 99. 

tBurkitt and Read's His. Kehukee Asso., pp. 49, 47. 

98 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

baptized. Some ot them dissented, and were refused member- 
ship in' the new churches. After this renovation, there were 
three or four churches, and as many preachers, that refused to 
submit to the reformation, and remained on their old grounds. 
Their doctrine and practice seem to have been substantially the 
same that are now held by the Campbellites. In a few years 
they became extinct. 

The new churches, formed by the missionaries, on the doc- 
trines of the Philadelphia Association, united with four other 
churches, one of which, at least, was under the pastoral care ot 
John Tanner, and formed the present Kehukee Association of 
United Baptists. At the time of this union, 1777, the associa- 
tion contained ten churches, with an aggregate membership of 
1,590.* Mr. Tanner traveled and preached extensively, not 
only in the bounds of this association, but also in Virginia. 
He endured much persecution, and at one time came very near 
losing his life for his faithfulness in the gospel of Christ. Elder 
Lemuel Burkitt, who was present when the surgeon dressed 
Mr. Tanner's wound, relates the circumstance as follows : 

"A certain woman by the name of Dawson, in the town 
of Windsor, N. C, had reason to hope her soul was converted, 
saw baptism to be a duty, and expressed a great desire to join 
the church at Cashie, under the care of Elder Dargan. Her 
husband who was violently opposed to it, and a great persecu- 
tor, had threatened that, if any man baptized his wife, he would 
shoot him. Accordingly, the baptism was deferred for some 
considerable time. At length, Elder Tanner was present at 
Elder Dargan's meeting, and Mrs. Dawson applied to the 
church for baptism, expressing her desire to comply with her 
duty. She related her experience, and was received ; and, as 
Elder Dargan was an infirm man, he generally, when other 
ministers were present, would apply to them to administer the 
ordinance in his stead. He therefore requested Elder Tanner 
to perform the duty of baptism at this time. Whether Elder 
Tanner was apprised of Dawson's threatening or not, or whether 
he thought it his duty to obey God rather than man, we are 
not able to say. But so it was, he baptized Sister Dawson. 
And, in June following, which was in the year 1777, Elder 

* lb. p. 51. 

John Tanner. pp 

Tanner was expected to preach at Sandy Run meeting house, 
and Dawson, hearing of the appointment, came up from Wind- 
sor to Norfleet's ferry, on Roanoke, and lay in wait near the 
banks of the river. When Elder Tanner, in company with 
Elder Dargan, ascended the bank from the ferry landing, 
Dawson, being a few yards from him, shot him with a large 
horseman's pistol, and seventeen shot went into his thigh, one 
of which was a large buckshot that went through his thigh. In 
this wounded condition, Elder Tanner was carried to the house 
of Mr. Elisha Williams, in Scotland Neck, where he lay some 
weeks, and his life was despaired of But, through the good- 
ness of God, he recovered."* 

Besides the rude persecutions Mr. Tanner endured in North 
Carolina he took his turn in a Virginia jail, with his co-laborers. 
Mr. Semple says: "In Chesterfield jail seven preachers were 
confined for preaching, viz : William Webber, Joseph Anthony, 
Augustine Eastin, John Weatherford, JoJm Tanner, Jeremiah 
Walker and David Tinsley. Some were whipped by individ- 
uals, and several were fined, "f Speaking of the same circum- 
stances, Burkitt and Read say: "The people were so desirous 
fer hear preaching that they would attend at the prison, and 
^^tbe ministers would preach to them through the grates. In 
ofder to prevent their hearing, Colonel Cary had a brick wall 
J erected ten or twelve feet high before the prison, and the top 
^ thereof fixt with glass, set in mortar to prevent the people from 
'"^sitting on the top of the wall to hear the word. "| 

Previous to the year 1785, Mr. Tanner moved to Ken- 
tucky, and, in that year, was a member, and we have suppos- 
ed, the founder and pastor, of Tates Creek church, in Madi- 
son county. Not long after this he was the preacher of 
Boone's Creek church (now Athens) in Fayette county. Like 
William Marshall, Mr. Tanner entered deeply into the investi- 
gation of God's eternal decrees, and growing morose in his 
temper, he seemed to arrive at the conclusion that none were 
converted, unless they were "sound on the decrees," from 
his standpoint. About the year 1786, or the year following, 

* Burkitt and Read's His. Kehukee Asso., pp. 59, 60. 

t His. Va. Bap., p. 207. 

J History Kehukee Asso. p. 269 

lOO Histojy of Kent7icky Baptists. 

there was a general revival among the young churches in Ken- 
tucky. Indeed, this work began as early as the winter and 
spring of 1785, and continued some three years. During the 
same period, there was a glorious work of grace spreading ex- 
tensively over the land in Virginia and North Carolina. Some- 
time during this precious season, William Hickman was with 
Mr. Tanner at Boones Creek. About twenty persons were ap- 
proved for baptism in one day. Such a work had not been 
seen before, in Kentucky. It was a time of great rejoicing. 
The news had just reached Kentucky, that a similar work was 
in progress among the churches in Virginia and North Car- 
olina. Mr. Tanner preached, but otherwise, and perhaps in 
his preaching also, he endeavored to discourage the revival, 
saying he feared it v/as "the work of the devil." He refused 
to examine the candidates for baptism before the church, and 
when they were received, he refused to baptize them* How- 
ever, it is probable that he would not have absolutely nefused 
these offices if there had been no other minister present to dis- 
charge them. How far will even good men be led astray, 
when they turn av/ay from the simplicity of the gospel, to 
weary themselves and their hearers with vain attempts to dis- 
cover, and unfold, the secret mysteries of God's eternal de- 

About the year 1795, Mr. Tanner moved to Woodford 
county, and settled in the neighborhood of Clear Creek 
church. By this time, he had come to the conclusion that all 
the existing churches in Kentucky were too corrupt for a chris- 
tian to live in. He soon induced his aged father-in-law. Elder 
James Rucker, to adopt his opinion. Elder John Penny had 
recently moved from Virginia, and settled on Salt river. He 
was induced to enter into Mr. Tanner's scheme. They found 
a few Baptists in Mr. Penny's neighborhood, suited to their 
purpose, and they constituted "the Reformed Baptist church 
on Salt River," of ten members, three of whom were ordained 
preachers. Their plan was to receive members only by ex- 
perience, and these must be of known good character. None 
were received by letter from other churches. Their intention 
was to have a very pure church. As Mr. Penny lived among 


*Hickman's Narrative pp. 23, 24. 

John Tanner. lOI 

them, he was chosen pastor. The fact soon developed itself 
that human nature was the same in the "Baptist Reform" 
church, that it was in Clear Creek church. The members of 
this "pure body" soon fell into contentions among themselves. 
Mr. Penny called helps and constituted the present Salt River 
church, on the old plan. Mr. Rucker returned to Clear Creek 
and shortly afterwards moved to the lower end of the state. 
The "Baptist Reform church" was dissolved in two years after 
it was constituted. Mr. Tanner soon moved to Shelby 
county, * from whence, after a brief period, he emigrated to 
Missouri, and settled near New Madrid. From this settle- 
ment most of the people were frightened away by a series of 
violent earthquakes which occurred in i8li. Mr. Tanner mov- 
ed to the neighborhood of Cape Gerrardeau, where he died, in 

♦History ten ch's pp. 80, 81. 



We have now followed the Baptists in their labors in Ken- 
tucky, during a period of ten years. We may make a brief 
pause, look over the field, and see what has been done. The 
first settlement was made at Boonesboro in the summer of 1775- 
As far as we can learn, all the first families in this settlement 
were of Baptist persuasion. The Boones, Galloways and 
Frenches were known to have been Baptists. The first mar- 
riage ceremony was performed, August 7, 1776, between Sam- 
uel Henderson and Betsy Calloway, by Squire Boone, (a young- 
er brother of Daniel) who was a Baptist preacher. * In the 
spring of 1776, Thomas Tinsley and Wm. Hickman preached 
at Harrodsburg ; in 1779, John Taylor visited the infant settle- 
ments ; the following spring, Joseph Redding conducted a col- 
ony, principally of Baptists, to the present site of Louisville, 
and, during the two years last named. Baptist ministers began 
to settle with their families, in the new country. In 1781, 
three Regular Baptist churches were organized. At the close 
of the year, 1785, there had been constituted in Kentucky, 
eighteen churches — eleven of Regular Baptists, and seven of 
Separate Baptists. There were in the new country, at the 
same period, at least nineteen Regular Baptist preachers, viz: 
Squire Boone, Joseph Barnett, James Garrard, John Whitaker, 
Augustine Eastin, Wm. Taylor, Wm. Marshall, John Tanner, 
George Stokes Smith, William Edmund Waller, Richard Cave, 
John Taylor, John Dupuy, Lewis Craig, Elijah Craig, Wm, 
Hickman, Wm. Wood, John Price and James Rucker, There 
were also seven Separate Baptist preachers, viz. : Benjamin 
Lynn, James Skaggs, James Smith, John Bailey, Joseph Bled- 
soe, Joseph Craig and Robert Elkin. 

s^Collins His., Vol. I, p. 511. 


Regular and Separate Baptists. 103 

These churches and preachers occupied the whole of the 
country then settled. Wherever there was a settlement 
formed, some of these valiant soldiers of Christ hastened to oc- 
cupy it in the name of the Master. If we would appreciate the 
true character of these noble men of God, we must not forget 
the circumstances that surrounded them. With a single excep- 
tion, they were poor men, and most of them had "large and 
growing families." They were compelled to live in small, rude 
cabins and wear coarse, rough clothing. To procure a supply of 
coarse food for their families, required much care and labor. 
Besides this, perpetual danger beset them and their families. 
The wily, vindictive savages attacked them when they were 
asleep, and spared neither age nor sex. They lurked in am- 
bush along every trace the preachers had to travel over. They 
drove off their stock and wasted their growing crops. The}- 
burned their buildings, and slaughtered and scalped their wives 
and children, or carried them away into captivity. There was 
no hour in the year, day or night, when these hardy settlers 
could feel secure from attack by the relentless foe. Yet their 
zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of men was such as 
to make them despise every toil, and dare every danger, not 
■even counting their lives dear, if they might finish their course 
with joy. 

Most of the pioneer preachers lived and labored till the 
land was well peopled and subdued ; when the savages had re- 
tired far towards the setting sun, the broad, dark forests had 
given place to green, fruitful fields, and their sons and daugh- 
ters had entered comfortable homes of their own ; when the 
people of God met to worship in commodious houses, God had 
raised up strong young men to lead his people in right ways, 
and point the rising generation to the cross of Christ, and green, 
flowery church yards waited to receive the worn out bodies of 
the faithful old veterans of the Cross. But we are anticipating 
the day of peace and rest. They still had the harness on, at 
the time of which we write, and most of them had yet many 
years of toil and danger before them. 

The year 1785, was one of great interest, and much activity 
among the Baptists of Kentucky. Hitherto each little church 
had stood isolated from its sisters. No organization existed 
.through which the churches could work together in harmony. 

I04 Histojy of Kentucky Baptists. 

But under the influence of the first revival that occurred in the 
country, they began to feel the need of a bond of general union. 
Early in that year, the brethren began to discuss the propriety 
of forming an association.* But a grievous obstacle presented 
itself. Some of the churches were Regular, and others Sepatate 
Baptists : They were all essentially Baptists, and their differen- 
ces were comparatively trifling. But they were sufficient to 
prevent cordial fellowship; and, as these differences were the cause 
of the first general confusion among the Baptists of Kentucky, 
it will be appropriate to give a brief account of their origin. 

Congregationalism was the established religion of all the 
colonies in New England, except Rhode Island, and conformi- 
ty to the established religion was enforced by the civil law. 
To worship God publicly, in any way, except according to the 
rules and regulai"ions of the Congregational churches, was so 
great a crime in the eye of the law that it was punished by fines, 
imprisonment, whipping, and banishment. The Baptists had to 
endure all these penalities, in New England, during a period of 
about one hundred and seventy-five years. 

In early days, in New England, the Congregationalists re- 
quired candidates, for membership in their churches to relate an 
experience of grace, as Baptists do now. After a while, they 
allowed applicants to relate their experiences in writing, and, 
finally, abandoned "the giving in of experiences, " altogether. 
Their churches, which, at first, were very spiritual, rapidly 
declined in piety, till it was believed that a majority of their 
preachers were unconverted. This state of affairs continued 
till about 1740, when vital godliness seemed almost banished 
from the land. 

At that period, George Whitfield of England, was one of 
the most eloquent and renowned preachers in the world. He 
was an Episcopalian, and, for a time, was associated with John 
and Charles Wesley. But they became Arminian in doctrine, 
and he, being a decided Calvinist, soon parted company with 
them. In December, 1737, he came from England to Georgia, 
and remained in America nearly a year. He embarked for 
America a second time, in August, 1739. This time, he 
traveled and preached as far north as New York, from whence 

*His. Ten. ch's p. 55. 

Two Associations For>ned. 105 

he returned to South Carolina. Being invited to visit New 
England, he sailed from Charleston, and landed at Newport, 
Rhode Island, September 14, 1740. He preached in New 
England about two months, and a most wonderful revival fol- 
lowed. Multitudes of church members and a number of preachers 
professed to be converted. Some of the ministers of the estab- 
lished churches, and among them the great and pious Jonathan 
Edwards, favored the revival, and labored to promote it ; but a 
majority of them opposed it, and were supported by the colo- 
nial governments. This caused great confusion. Many per- 
sons, both men and women, were fined and imprisoned for la- 
boring to promote the revival. Some of the Congregational 
churches divided on the subject Those who favored the revi- 
val, and split off from the churches, were called Separates, be- 
cause they had separated from the established churches. These 
formed themselves into bodies, and were called Separate 
churches. The old organizations were called Regular chur- 
ches, because they were established by law. In this manner, 
the terms Regular and Separate first came to be applied to 
churches. At this time, neither of these terms had ever been 
applied to Baptist churches, in any part of the world. 

When this great revival first commenced, the Baptists 
were confused about it, and, as it progressed, became divided 
on the subject. Some opposed, and others favored the work. 
At that time, there were only forty Baptist churches on the 
American continent, and most or all of them were very small. 
Of this number, nine were in Massachusetts, thirteen in 
Rhode Island, three in Connecticut and no other in the remain- 
der of New England. The pastor of the Baptist church in 
Boston, Massachusetts, opposed the revival. This caused a 
small faction to split off from that body, in 1742, which was 
constituted a church, the next year. The new organization 
was called a Separate Baptist church, while the old one was de- 
nominated Regular Baptists. This was the first application of 
these terms to Baptist churches, and was an inappropriate 
imitation of the Congregationalists. Other Baptist churches 
followed the example of that at Boston, a number of Separate 
Congregational organizations submitted to believers' baptism 
and identified themselves with the Baptists, and the Separate 
Baptists became quite numerous in New England. 

io6 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

It will readily be seen that the division of the Baptists 
into these two parties was not caused by any doctrinal differ- 
ences, but solely on the ground of one party's favoring "the 
Whitfield revival, " while the other opposed it. But Mr. Whit- 
field was strongly Calvinistic in doctrine, and it soon became mani- 
fest that the Separates were much clearer in the doctrines of 
grace than the Regulars. The distinguished John Gill was so 
much pleased with the views of the Separate Baptists, that he 
made a present to the church at Boston, consisting of a com- 
munion set and a valuable collection of books. 

During "the Whitfield revival," two men in Connecticut, 
of moderate gifts and acquirements, were converted to the faith of 
the Separate Congregationalists. These men were destined to ex- 
ert a wonderful influence for the^cause of Christ, in the South. 
Their names were Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall, the lat- 
ter having married the sister of the former. Marshall went to 
preach among the Indians. Stearns joined the Separate Bap- 
tists, and began to preach with flaming zeal. After a short 
time, he became strongly impressed with the conviction, that 
there was a great work for him to do, far to the south. Under 
this impression, he took his family and started southward, 
without any definite idea as to where he was going. He made 
his first stop in Berkley county, Virginia, in 1754. Here he 
met Daniel Marshall, who had been compelled to leave the In- 
dian country on account of a great war that had broken out 
among the savages. There was a small Baptist church where 
Mr. Stearns stopped, under the care of John Garrard. Mar- 
shall became convinced of the duty of submitting to believers' 
baptism, and was soon baptized. Stearns became restless, in 
Virginia, and soon he and Marshall, with their families and a 
few others who had come with Stearns from Connecticut, set 
out to the southward. After traveling about two hundred 
miles, they stopped on Sandy creek, in Guilford county, 
North Carolina, November 22, 1755. Here they formed, of 
sixteen members, the first Separate Baptist church south of 
New England. This church grew so rapidly that it soon num- 
bered six hundred and six members, and from it, sprang all 
the Separate Baptists of the whole South. When these zeal- 
ous Separates spread like a flame over nearly the whole of Vir- 
ginia, the few Baptists in the northern part of that colony. 

Two Associations Formed. 107 

most of whom originated from Pennsylvania, were called Reg- 
ular Baptists, to distinguish them from the Separates. The 
Pennsylvania Baptists, and those of Virginia who originated 
from them, had adopted the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. 
At first the Separates were even more Calvinistic than the 
Regulars. But they refused to adopt any formulated creed, 
and soon, some of their leading preachers began to differ wide- 
ly in their interpretations of the Scriptures. John Waller, one 
of the ablest ministers among them, adopted the Arminian 
theory, and made a determined effort to convert the General 
Association to his new views. Failing in this attempt, he and 
his church withdrew from that body. At another time, the 
General Association was divided into two nearly equal parts, 
on the same question of doctrine. Finally, the brilliant and 
popular Jeremiah Walker drew off a party to the Arminian 
theory. These breaches were all healed, and union was re- 
stored, at least, to outward appearance. "But they were far 
from being uniform in doctrine." It was while in this confus- 
ed state of doctrinal sentiment, that they began to emigrate to 
the West. 

Of the first twenty-five Baptist preachers that settled in 
Kentucky, twenty are known to have been Separate Baptists 
in Virginia and North Carolina ; of the other five, only Joseph 
Barnett is known to have been a Regular Baptist. Yet, after 
they settled in Kentucky, eighteen of the twenty-five subscrib- 
ed to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, and identified 
themselves with the Regular Baptists. The names of the sev- 
en who retained the appellation of Separate Baptists, have al- 
ready been given. They organized most of the churches on 
the south side of Kentucky river, constituted previous to the 
year 1786, and two, on the north side of that stream. The 
Regulars had two churches on the south side of the Kentucky 

This was the attitude of the Baptists in Kentucky, when, 
in the spring of 1785, they began to consider the propriety of 
an association. Preparatory to the accomplishment of this ob- 
ject, a meeting was appointed for the purpose of attempting to 
consummate a union of the Regular and Separate parties. All 
the churches were requested to send messengers to the meet- 
ing. According to this appointment, a convention met at 

io8 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

South Elkhornin Fayette county, June 25, 1785. The follow- 
ing Regular Baptist churches, the names of whose messengers 
are annexed, were represented : 

South ElkJiorn, Lewis Craig, William Hickman and Benj. 

Clear Creek, John Taylor, John Dupuy, James Rucker 
and Rich. Cave. 

Big Crossing, William Cave and Bartlett Collins. 

Tatcs Creek, John Tanner and William Jones. 

Gilberts Creek, George Stokes Smith and John Price. 

Some of the Separate churches were also represented, but 
their names have not been ascertained. Lewis Craig was 
chosen moderator of the meeting, and Richard Young, clerk. 
James Garrard, Augustine Eastin and Henry Roach were in- 
vited to seats. It was agreed that the meeting should be gov- 
erned by a majority, in any matter that should come before it. 
The first question that came before the body was worded as 
follows : 

"Query, — Whether the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, 
adopted by the Baptists, shall be strictly adhered to, as the 
rule of our communion, or whether a suspension thereof, for 
the sake of society, be best?" 

If there were serious hopes of effecting a Union between 
the Regulars and Separates, this was the grave question of the 
meeting. It was known that the Separates had persistently re- 
fused to adopt any Confession of Faith. If the pending ques- 
tion was decided in favor of the Confession of Faith under ad- 
visement, the Separates must unequivocally abandon their 
ground, or reject the proffered Union. The query was an- 
swered in the following explicit terms : 'Tt is agreed that the 
said recited Confession of Faith be strictly adhered to." The 
proffered Union was rejected, and the breach made wider. 
The contention between the parties became more distressing. 
The Separates succeeded in drawing off factions from a num- 
ber of their rival churches, and constituting them into Sepa- 
rate organizations in the immediate neighborhood of the bodies 
from which they had withdrawn. By this means, within the 
next five years, Tates Creek, Boones Creek, Hardins Creek 
and Forks of Elkhorn had, each, formed from its members, 
another church bearing its name, and adhering to the Separate 

Regular Baptist Association. 109 

Baptists. This state of confusion continued about fifteen years 
after this attempt to form a Union between the Separates and 
Regulars, and doubtless did much to stir up strife among 
brethren, and retard the progress of religion. 

The next subject, discussed by South Elkhorn Conven- 
tion, was the propriety of forming an association. This was 
decided in the affirmative, and a time was appointed for its 
consummation. Accordingly messengers from six churches met 
at the house of John Craig* on Clear creek in Woodford 
county, September 30, 1785, and Elkhorn Association was 
constituted, f 

The Baptists of the more westerly settlements were separa- 
ted from those on the waters of Kentucky river, by a broad 
belt of unsettled country, much infested by Indians. Commu- 
nication between them was infrequent at the time of which we 
write. A journey from Loufsville to Lancaster was performed 
by that most energetic pioneer, John Taylor, in six days, and, 
during the very year of which we now treat, a little church, 
planted in Shelby county, was so beset by the prowling sava- 
ges, that it held no meeting for two or three years after its 
constitution. Under these circumstances, the little churches 
in the western settlements were ignorant of what their breth- 
ren were doing on Elkhorn. They were fewer in numbers 
of both members and preachers, than their brethren in the up- 
per counties. But, like them, they appreciated the advan- 
tages, and felt the need of an association, in which they might 
meet at least once a year,' and devise means for the advancement 
of the great cause that was dearer to them than all besides, 
and which afforded to them their only solace in the wilderness 
of toil, danger and wearying care. 

On Saturday, October 29, 1785, four Regular Baptist 
churches met, by their messengers, on Cox's creek. Nelson 
county, Kentucky, for the purpose of forming an association. 
A sermon suitable for this occasion was preached by Joseph 
Barnett, from John 2. 17. 

Joseph Barnett was chosen moderator, and Andrew Paul, 

*Hickman's Narrative p. 22. 

tSee History of Elkhorn Association, in vol. ii. 

no Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. 

Letters from four churches were read and the following 
facts recorded : 

Severns Valley, constituted June l8, 1781. Members 37. 
No pastor. 

Cedar Creek, constituted July 4, 178 1. Members 41. 
Joseph Barnett, pastor. 

Bear Grass, constituted January, 1784. Members 19. 
John Whitaker, pastor. 

Cox's Creek, constituted April, 1785. Members 26. 
William Taylor, pastor. 

This was the second Regular Baptist Association organiz- 
ed west of the Alleghany Mountains. It was constituted only 
twenty-nine days later than Elkhorn Association, and evident- 
ly had not heard of the existence of the latter organization. 
For, after adopting the "Philadelphia Confession of Faith, and 
the Treatise of Discipline thereto ^annexed" they proposed cor- 
respondence with the Philadelphia, Ketocton and Mononga- 
hela Associations, without mentioning Elkhorn.* 

The fraternity thus formed assumed the name of Salem 
Association of Regular Baptists, and comprised all the Regular 
Baptist churches in Kentucky, west of Frankfort, the church 
on Brashears Creek having been dispersed by the Indians. It 
had but three preachers within the bounds of its immense ter- 
ritory, and it received but few accessions to its ministry, till it 
raised them up in its own churches. This body was very small at 
the beginning, and its growth was very slow till the great re- 
vival of 1800-3, when it received very large accessions, and 
has since maintained a prominent position among the associa- 
tions of the State. 

The Separate Baptists, 'who had seven churches in the 
country, did not deem it expedient to form an association till 
two years later. The revival, to which reference has been 
made as the first that occurred in Kentucky, continued to 
spread slowly in every direction, till it not only reached all 
the churches in the new country, but extended its benign in- 
fluence to the Atlantic coast, and continued about three years. 
"It was a memorable time indeed," says Mr. Semple, "almost 
throughout the state of Virginia." 

'See History of Salem Association in vol. ii. 

Separate Baptists. ill 

There had been such an utter deadness in rehgion from 
the time the first settlement was made in the country, that the 
shedding of a tear under preaching was as surprising as it was 
new, in Kentucky, John Taylor gives the following account 
of a meeting he held soon after the revival commenced : 
"Soon after the awakening of Mrs. Cash, I had a meeting at 
Hillsboro, at John Whitaker's. It being in the spring of the 
year, I took a text from the Canticles, about the winter being 
past, and the flowers appearing, and the voice of the turtle be- 
ing heard in our land. The people being affected, when I 
stopped speaking, two men and their wives, as if they had pre- 
viously consulted, rose up, and, with trembling, came forward 
and asked me to pray for them, they being strangers to me. 
The thing being so new to the people, it spread a heavenly 
blaze through the assembly. They all soon afterwards obtain- 
ed hope in the Lord, and were baptized." 



The year 1786 came in with better prospects for rehgious 
prosperity in Kentucky than any previous year. The regular 
Baptist churches had all united in two associations, and were 
strengthened by the union. The revival which had commenced 
nearly a year before, had reached most or all of the young 
churches, and considerable accessions were made to them dur- 
ing the year, by experience and baptism. Both ministers and 
churches were much encouraged. Three regular Baptist churches 
all in Fayette county, and one of Separate Baptists, in Madison 
county, were gathered during the year. 

Bryants Station, sometimes written Bryans, was the 
first church, so far as known, gathered this year. It was 
located near the fort or station from which it derived its name, 
about five miles northeast from Lexington. This station was 
first occupied by three brothers of the name of Bryant, from 
North Carolina, in 1779. William Bryant was killed by the 
Indians, the other brothers returned to North Carolina, and the 
Station was occupied by Col. Robert Johnson and others. It 
was an outpost for a number of years, and was at one time be- 
seiged by 600 Indian warriors. 

The church at this point was probably gathered by Au- 
gustine Eastin, and was constituted by Lewis Craig and other 
"helps," on the third Saturday in April, 1786. The following 
eight persons were in the constitution. Augustine Eastin, 
Henry Roach, Wm. Tomlinson, Wm. Ellis, sr. , Joseph Rogers, 
Ann Rogers, Elizabeth Darnaby and Elizabeth Rice. 

Ambrose Dudley arrived in the country about the time the 
church was constituted, and became its first pastor. Under his 
care it was, for a number of years, one of the most prosperous 
churches in Kentucky. In 1801 it numbered 561 members. 


Bfyants Station. 1 1 3 

During the great revival of 1800--3, it received 421 members. 
On the 26th of August, 1801, David's Fork church was consti- 
tuted of 267 members dismissed from the church at Bryants. 
This left the church still large, and it continued to prosper till 
about the year 1809, when it became involved in a difficulty 
with Town Fork church, which resulted in its division. Both 
parties claimed the name and prerogatives of Bryants church, 
and the majority party entered into the constitution of Licking 
Association of Particular Baptists. The minority was after- 
wards recognized by Elkhorn Association, of which it still re- 
mains a member. Both churches have continued to occupy the 
the same house to the present time. They are both small and 
weak now. The Particular Baptist church at Bryants, though 
now (1885) ninety-nine years old, has had but two pastors, 
Ambrose Dudley and his son, Thomas P. Dudley. The latter 
is still living. 

Ambrose Dudley was born in Spottsylvania county, Vir- 
ginia, in 1750. At the commencement of the American Revo- 
lution he entered the Colonial Army with a captain's commis- 
sion. While stationed at Williamsburg he became interested 
about the salvation of his soul, about the same time that the 
church in the neighborhood of his residence was making special 
prayer to God to send it a pastor. As if in answer to its prayer 
Mr. Dudley returned home a child of grace. Uniting with the 
church he expressed a desire to spend the remainder of his life 
in the gospel ministry, and was soon afterwards set apart to 
that holy calling. After preaching with much acceptance 
several years he moved with his young family to Kentucky, ar- 
riving at his destination, six miles east of Lexington, May 3, 
1786. Within a few weeks after his arrival he took charge of 
the church at Bryant's. Here and at David's Fork church, and 
perhaps at other points, he ministered till the Master took him 
to himself. He was always prominent among the pioneer 
preachers of Kentucky. His fine natural gifts, his superior 
education, and his clear, practical judgment made him a leader 
in the business affairs of the churches and associations. He 
was a preacher of much zeal, but his zeal was tempered by 
wisdom. He was often moderator of the two associations of 
which his church was a member at different periods, and was 
one of the committee that arranged the terms of general union 

114 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

between the Regular and Separate Baptists of Kentucky, in 
i8oi. From the time he came to Kentucky, in 1786, till 1808, 
few preachers in the State baptized more people than he. Dur- 
ing this period his church belonged to Elkhorn Association, and 
he was among the leaders in all its transactions. But, in 1809, 
that body split,, and Mr. Dudley, with a large majority of 
Bryant's church, entered into the constitution of Licking Asso- 
ciation, formed of one of the divisions. He was a leader in this 
body, as he had been in Elkhorn, but he was now advanced in 
life, the association itself gradually decayed, and he was not so 
useful after his connection with it as he had been before. He 
continued to labor faithfully, however, till the Lord called him 
to the better country, Jan. 27, 1825, aged 73. 

The cotemporaries of Mr. Dudley unite in ascribing to him 
a most excellent character. Elder James E. Welsh, who was 
raised up under his ministry, says of him: "His manners and 
general habits seemed to indicate that he was born for discipline. 
The very glance of his piercing eye was often sufficient to awe 
into silence. In his personal appearance he was unusually erect 
and neat, so that once when a stranger asked, in Lexington, 
where he could be found, he was told to walk down the street, 
and the first man he met having on a superfine black coat, with- 
out a single mote upon it, would be Ambrose Dudley. And 
but few men have ever lived and died in the ministry who kept 
their garments more unspotted from the world. He was highly 
calvinistic in his sentiments, and of unbending firmness where 
he thought truth and duty were involved. Whenever it was 
known that he had an appointment to preach, the universal 
declaration was, 'whether it rain or shine, Brother Dudley will 
be there.' He never disappqinted any engagement he made, 
unless sickness or some equally unavoidable providence pre- 
vented. In family discipline he was very decided. He never 
spoke but once. In political or worldly matters he took but 
little interest, except within the limits of his own plantation. 
He was a man of God, whose praise is in all the churches 
throughout the region where he labored. He died at the ' 'horns 
of the altar." A writer in Rippon's Register*, supposed to be 
Samuel Trott, says: "Ambrose Dudley 'has been preaching 

*6f Apr. 1795, p. 202. 

Ambrose Dudley. 1 1 5 

about fourteen years, is well established in the doctrines of 
grace, a good natural orator, warm and affectionate in preach- 
ing, a persevering man whose labors the Lord has abundantly 
blessed, an example of piety and self-denial, and his praise is in 
the churches." 

Mr. Dudley was married in youth to Miss N. Parker, in 
his native State. He raised eleven sons and three daughters. 
At the time of his death he had nearly 100 grand children. 
Of his sons, Bemjamin Winslow Dudley was one of the most 
distinguished surgeons in America. Thomas Parker Dudley, 
who was still living (March, 1885) in his 95th year, has been 
for many years the most distinguished preacher among the Par- 
ticular Baptists in Kentucky, and the remaining nine were all 
men of prominence in their various callings. 

The Dudleys have been men of strongly marked charac- 
teristics, bearing strong impressions of those of their reverend 
ancestor. They have been men of strong symmetrical intellects, 
of unflinching integrity and firmness, and of dauntless courage. 
They have possessed practical intelligence rather than genius, 
frankness and candor rather than suavity and blandishments, and 
have been strong props rather than brilliant ornaments to so- 
ciety. There have been among them preachers, lawyers, doc- 
tors, bankers, soldiers and farmers, all prominent in their call- 
ings. But there have been among them no poets, no painters, 
no orators and no rhetoricians, on the one hand, and on the 
other hand no dandies, no loafers and no mendicants, at least 
till the blood of their noble ancestors has become much diluted 
in the remoter generations. How hath God blessed, and made 
a blessing, the numerous seed of his faithful servant and hand 
maiden. Surely the promises of God are all yea and amen. 

Town Fork church derived its name from a small tribu- 
tary of Elkhorn, which flows through the city of Lexington, 
and was located a short distaiice from that town. It was con- 
stituted of about ten members, in July, 1786, by Lewis Craig, 
John Taylor, Ambrose Dudley and Augustine Eastin.* Among 
its early members were William and Edward Payne, Thomas 
Lewis and William Stone. This church had a very slow growth. 
In 1802 it reached a membership of 120, but soon after this it 

*Cris. Rep., July, 1856, p. 392. 

1 1 6 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

began to decline, and continued to wither gradually till it be- 
came extinct, and the church in the city of Lexington occupied 
its territory. 

This little church was remarkable, principally for its having 
enjoyed the pastoral services of the distinguished John Gano, 
and for its having been the occasion of dividing Elkhorn Asso- 
ciation. Town Fork church united with Elkhorn Association 
the same year in which the former was constituted, and re- 
mained a member of that body till it dissolved. John Gano ap- 
peares to have been its first pastor. It was happy under his 
ministry, and enjoyed a slow, regular growth till near the time 
of his death, which occurred in 1804. Jacob Creath, sr., suc- 
ceeded Mr. Gano. He soon became involved in a personal dif- 
ficulty with Thomas Lewis, one of the prominent members of 
his charge, on account of a business transaction. The breach 
between them widened, parties were formed, and finally the 
whole association became involved in the quarrel. The church 
withered under the blight of this fierce contention, factions were 
created in the neighboring churches, Elkhorn Association be- 
came divided. Licking Association was formed of one of the 
factions, and Town Fork church soon perished. 

John Gano was the most learned and distinguished of the 
pioneer Baptist preachers of Kentucky. And, although he was 
far advanced in life before he came to the West, and had but a 
few years to labor among the Baptists of Kentucky, his matured 
wisdom, long and varied experience, and eminent piety and 
consecration, made him of incalculable benefit to the cause of 
the blessed Redeemer, in the new country. He had spent his 
youth and the prime of his life in building up the cause of 
Christ along the Atlantic slope, from Rhode Island to South 
Carolina, and few men were ever better fitted for the work of a 
pioneer preacher. He was well educated and well skilled in the 
gospel. He was easy and agreeable in conversation, his wit 
and humor were rarely at fault, he could readily accommodate 
himself to any grade of society, and any contingency, his cour- 
age was dauntless, and, above all, he loved the cause of Christ, 
his brethren in the Lord and the souls of men, with an un- 
quenchable ardor. He brought all these excellent gifts and 
graces into requisition among the pioneers of Kentucky, accord- 
ing to the measure of physical strength, which still remained to 

John Gano. Wj 

him. He visited and encouraged the young churches and 
preachers, hastened to adjust difficulties among the brethren, 
went far to attend the new associations, guided their counsels 
and corrected the crudities of their doctrines, and pushed out 
into the very remotest settlements in the midst of fierce Indian 
wars, to lift up and establish the feeble infant churches. It is 
not wonderful that he was greatly loved and much lamented 
by the Baptists of Kentucky. 

John Gano was born at Hopewell, New Jersey, July 22, 
1727. His father was of French extraction. His great-grand- 
father, Francis Gano, fled from France in the night, to avoid 
martyrdom. On his araival in America he settled at New 
Rochelle, a few miles above New York City, where he lived to 
the age of 103 years. His son, Stephen Gano, raised six sons 
(Daniel, Francis, James, John, Lewis and Isaac) and three 
daughers. Daniel married Sarah Britton, by whom he raised 
five sons, (Daniel, Stephen, John, Nathan and David), and three 
daughters. Of these parents, both of whom were eminently 
pious, the father being a Presbyterian and the mother a Baptist, 
John was the fifth child and third son. 

In early life John Gano professed conversion, and was 
strongly inclined to unite with the Presbyterian church; but, 
doubting the scriptural authority for infant baptism, he entered 
into an elaborate investigation of the subject. He read many 
books on the subject, and had many conversations with Presby- 
terian ministers. He only became more and more convinced of 
the truth of Baptist principles. Finally he had an extended con- 
versation with the renowned Gilbert Tennant. At the close of 
this interview, Mr. Tennant, seeing he was not convinced, said 
to him: "Dear young man, if the devil cannot destroy your 
soul he will endeavor to destroy your comfort and usefulness, 
and, therefore, do not be always doubting in this matter. If 
you cannot think as I do, think for yourself." Some time after 
this, having obtained the consent of his father, who had had him 
"christened" in infancy, he united with the Baptist church, at 
Hopewell, and was probably baptized by Isaac Eaton, who estab- 
lished the first school for educating young men for the Baptist 
ministry in America, and whose descendants have been so 
conspicuous as preachers and educators in this country. 

Soon after he was baptized Mr. Gano became much exer- 

Ii8 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

cised in mind on the subject of preaching Christ to dying sin- 
ners. His mind became so much absorbed on this subject that 
he was almost incapacitated for his ordinary business. "One 
morning after he began plowing in his field the passage, ' Warn 
the people, or their blood will I require atyoiir Jiands,' came with 
such weight upon his mind that he drove on till 1 1 o'clock ut- 
terly insensible of his employment. When he came to himself 
he found he was wet with the rain, his horses were excessively 
fatigued, and the labor he had performed was astonishingly 

After becoming convinced that the Lord had called him to 
the work of the ministry, he applied himself with great diligence 
to study, preparatory to entering upon this duty. Before he 
had been licensed to preach he accompanied Benjamin Miller 
and David Thomas, who were among the most eminent ministers 
of their day, on a missionary tour into Virginia, whither they 
had been sent by the Philadelphia Association. The principal 
object of this mission was to visit and set in order a little church 
on Opecon Creek, which had been constituted by the notorious 
impostor, Henry Loveall.* On reaching the place, and visit- 
ing this little church, the ministers found it in a deplorable con- 
dition. Only three of its members could give a satisfactory ac- 
count of their conversion. These were constituted a new 
church, and the rest of the members of the old church were ex- 
horted to seek the salvation of their souls, Mr. Gano, in his 
Autobiography, gives the following account of the part he took 
in this work: 

"After the meeting ended a number of old members went 
aside and sent for me. They expressed their deplorable state, 
and asked me if I would meet with them that evening and try 
to instruct them. They were afraid the ministers blamed them. 
They had been misled, but it was not their fault, and they hoped 
I would pity them. I told them I would with all my heart, and 
endeavored to remove their suspicion of the ministers. They 
met and I spoke to them from these words: ' ' They, being ig?io- 
rant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their 
qw7i righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteous- 
ness of God." I hope I was assisted to s.peak to them in an im- 

*This Loveall was from New England. His real name was Desolate 
Baker. He was excluded from Opecan church for licentiousness. 

John Gano, 119 

pressive manner; and they to hear, at least some of them, so as 
to live. They afterwards professed conversion and became 
zealous members and remained so, I believe, until their deaths." 

This occurred in 175 i. This was the first time Mr. Gano 
attempted to preach, and this, it will be remembered, was before 
he was licensed by his church. The attentive reader will also 
remember that William Hickman commenced his ministry in a 
similar manner, at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, just twenty-five 
years later. 

Before Mr. Gano returned home the news reached Hope- 
well that he had been preaching in Virginia. Some of the 
brethren deemed it disorderly, and were aggrieved about it. As 
in the case of Peter's preaching at Ceasarea, when John (Gano) 
was come up to Hopewell the brethren that were offended said 
unto him, "Thou didst go in unto the Virginians, and didst 
preach unto them, without authority from the church." John 
demanded evidence to sustain the accusation. They informed 
him that they had only heard it from travelers, but desired him 
to give them a relation of the matter. He replied that it was 
the first time he had known the accused called on to give evi- 
dence against himself, but that he was willing to give them an 
account of his conduct. Then John rehearsed the matter from 
the beginning. They then asked him what he thought of his 
conduct. He replied that he thought this question more extra- 
ordinary than the former. He had given evidence against him- 
self, and was now called on to adjudge himself guilty. This is 
a specimen of that self-possession, readiness of mind, and inge- 
nuity which characterized him through life. At length he in- 
formed the church that he did not mean to act disorderly or 
contrary to their wishes. That the case was an extraordinary 
one, that was not likely to occur again. But if it should, he 
would probably act in the same way. The church now appointed 
a time to hear him preach. He gave satisfaction, and was soon 
licensed to exercise his gift. About this time he moved his 
residence to Morristown. Up to this period he had, with brief 
interruptions, devoted himself to close, systematic study. But 
the calls on him to preach became so frequent that he entered 
regularly into his holy calling. There being a call on the Phil- 
adelphia Association for a missionary to go to Virginia, he was 
ordained for that work in May, 1754, and soon afterwards set 

1 20 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

out on his mission. On this journey he went as far as Charles- 
ton, S. C. The following extracts, giving some account of this 
missionary tour, condensed from Mr. Gano's journal, will give 
some insight into the character of that good and great man : 

On the frontier of Virginia this zealous missionary, while 
conversing with some people where he lodged, in an affection- 
ate manner, respecting their religious concerns, overheard one 
of the company say to another, "This man talks like one of 
the Joneses ! " On inquiring who the Joneses were he was in- 
formed that they were distracted people, who did nothing but 
pray and talk about Jesus Christ, and that they lived between 
twenty and thirty miles distant on his route. " I determined," 
said he, " to make it my next day's ride, and see my oivn like- 
ness." When he arrived at the house he found there a plain, 
obscure family, which had formerly lived in a very careless 
manner, but a number of them had lately been changed by 
grace, and were much engaged in devotional exercises. As he 
entered the house he saw the father of the family lying before 
the fire, groaning with rheumatic pains. He inquired how he 
did. " O," said he, "I am in great distress." " I am glad of 
it," replied the stranger. The old gentleman, astonished at 
this singular reply, raised himself up and inquired what he 
meant. "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, andscourgeth 
every son he receiveth," answered Mr. Gano. From this they 
proceeded to religious conversation, and he soon found that this 
pious family, whom the world accounted mad, had been taught 
the words of truth and soberness. They asked him many ques- 
tions, and were much pleased to find one who was acquainted 
with the things they had experienced. 

From this place he proceeded on toward North Carolina, 
having a young man with him, who chose to bear him company. 
" We arrived at a house just at dusk, the master of which gave 
us liberty to tarry. After we had conveyed our things into the 
house, the following dialogue occurred: " 

Landlord- — "Are you a trader ? " 

Mr. Gano—"Y&s." 

L. — " Do you find trading to answer your purpose ? " 

G. — " Not so well as I could wish."' 

L. — " Probably the goods do not suit." 

G. — "No one has complained of the goods." 

John Gano. 1 2 1 

L. — '* You hold them too high." 

G. — "Any one may have them below his own price." 

L. — "I will trade with you on these terms." 

G. — " I will cheerfully comply with them. Will not gold 
tried in the fire, yea, that which is better than the fine gold, 
wine and milk, durable riches and righteousness, without money 
and without price, suit you ? " 

L. — " Oh, I believe you are a minister." 

G. — "I am, and I have a right to proclaim free grace 
wherever I go. " 

' ' This, ' ' says Mr. Gano, ' ' laid the foundation for the even- 
ing's conversation, and I must acknowledge his kindness, 
though he was not very desirous of trading, after he discovered 
who I was." 

Our itinerant continued southward till he arrived at Charles- 
ton, and there, and in its vicinity, he preached to good accept- 
ance. His account of his first sermon for Mr. Oliver Hart, at 
that time pastor of the Baptist Church in Charleston, is as fol- 
lows: "When I arose to speak, the sight of so brilliant an 
audience, among whom were twelve ministers, and one of whom 
was Mr. [George] Whitefield, for a moment brought the fear of 
man upon me ; but blessed be the Lord, I was soon relieved 
from this embarrassment ; the thought passed my mind, I had 
none to fear and obey but the Lord." 

On his return from Charleston to the northward he visited 
an island where he was informed there never had been but two 
sermons preached. The people soon collected, and he preached 
to them from these words : " Behold, the tJmdtime I am ready to 
come to you, and I ivill not be burdensome to you. " 

When he arrived at Tar River, in North Carolina, he found 
that a report had gone forth that some of the principal men in 
the county had agreed that if he came within their reach they 
would apprehend him as a spy ; for, by his name he was judged 
to be a Frenchman, and this was in the time of the French war. 
Some of these people lived on the road he was to travel the next 
day. His friends urged him to take a different route, but he 
replied that God had so far conducted him on his way in safety, 
and he should trust Him for the future. When he got near the 
place where the men who had threatened him lived, he was ad- 
vised to go through it as secretly as possible ; but that by no 

122 History of Kentucky Baptists 

means accorded with his views. He repHed he should stop and ) 
refresh himself in the place. He stopped at one of the most 
public houses, and asked the landlord if he thought the people 
would come out to hear a sermon on a week day. He informed 
liim he thought they would ; but observed, that on the next 
Monday there was to be a general muster for that county. He 
therefore concluded to defer the meeting till that time, and re- 
quested the landlord to inform the colonel of the regiment, who, 
he had learned, was one of those who had threatened him, of 
his name, and desire of him the favor of preaching a short ser- 
mon before military duty. The landlord promised to comply 
with his request. " On Monday I had twenty miles to ride to 
the muster, and by ten o'clock there was a numerous crowd 
of men and women. They had erected a stage in the woods 
for me, and I preached from Paul's Christian armor. They all 
paid the most profound attention, except one man, who behaved 
amiss. I spoke, and told him I was ashamed to see a soldier 
so awkward in duty, and wondered his officer could bear with 
him. The colonel, as I afterwards understood, brought him to 
order. After service I desired a person to inform the commander 
that I wanted to speak with him. He immediately came, and 
I told him that, although I professed loyalty to King George, 
and did not wish to infringe upon the laudable design of the day, 
yet I thought the King of kings ought to be served first, and I 
presumed what I had said did not tend to make them worse sol- 
diers, but better Christians. He complacently thanked me, 
and said if I could wait, he would make the exercise as short 
as possible, and give an opportunity for another sermon, for 
which he should be much obliged to me. I told him I had an 
appointment some miles off to preach the next day. Thus 
ended my chastisement and the fears of my friends. 

"From hence I returned byway of Ketocton, on Blue 
Ridge, where the inhabitants are scattered. On my road I ob- 
served a thunder-storm arising, and rode speedily for the first 
house. When I arrived the man came running into the house, 
and, seeing me, appeared much alarmed, there being at that time 
great demands for men and horses for Braddock's army. He 
said to me, ^ Sir, are you a press-masta ?' I told him I was. 
' But, ' said he, 'you do not take married men?' I told him 
surely I did ; and that the Master I wished him to serve was 

John Gano. 1 23 

good, His character unimpeachable, the wages great, and that 
it would be for the benefit of his wife and children if he enlisted. 
He made many excuses, but I endeavored to answer them, and 
begged him to turn out a volunteer in the service of Christ. 
This calmed his fears, and I left him, and proceeded on my way 
to Ketocton, where I spent some time, and baptized Mr. Hale." 

Soon after Mr. Gano's arrival at home, after this tour, he 
was married to Sarah, daughter of John Stites, of Elizabeth- 
town, New Jersey, and sister of the wife of the celebrated James 
Manning, the founder and first president of Rhode Island Col- 
lege — now Brown University. 

Mr. Gano remained at home but a short time before he set 
out on another preaching tour through the Southern Colonies. 
This trip occupied him eight months. He was rejoiced to learn 
that his labors during the former tour had produced good fruits, 
and many people had turned to the Lord. Many striking inci- 
dents occurred on this tour, a few of which may be related : 

Calling at a house on his route, he asked the man to have 
his horse fed. The man ordered his son to go at once and feed 
the horse. Meanwhile, ascertaining that his guest was a min- 
ister, lie began to speak to him about baptizing his child. " I 
have been waiting some time," said he, " for a priest to come 
along, that I might have my child baptized, and now I wish to 
have it attended to." Mr. Gano signified his willingness to 
serve his host in any way that he could. The boy stood star- 
ing at "the priest," and neglected feeding Mr. Gano's horse. 
The father, observing this, said to the boy, "You son of a 
b — h; why don't you feed that horse, as I told you?" The 
boy started on his errand, and the father resumed his conversa- 
tion about baptizing his child. " What are you going to call 
it?" said Mr. Gano. "That boy, I perceive, is ndsa^^ son of 
a b — //." After this singular reproof nothing more was said 
about baptizing the child. 

Preaching at a place in Virginia one day, where the people 
were very wicked, two young men, believing that he was direct- 
ing his censures against them, came forward at the close of the 
sermon and dared him to fight. " That is not the way I defend 
my sentiments, " said he, "but, if you choose it, I will fight 
you, either both at once, or one after the other. But as I have 
to preach again very soon, I prefer putting it off till after meet- 

124 Historoy f Kentucky Baptists. 

ing. To this they agreed. At the close of the meeting they 
came forward to engage in the fight. " If I must fight," said 
Mr. Gano, "I perfer a more retired place, and not before all 
these people." With this he walked off, bidding the young 
men follow him. When they were away from the crowd he 
said : " Young men, you ought to be ashamed of your conduct. 
What reason have you to snppose I had particular reference to 
you ? I am an entire stranger here, and know not the character 
of any. You have proved, by your conduct, that you are guilty 
of the vices I have censured. If you are so much disturbed 
at my reproofs, how will you stand before the bar of God ? " "I 
beg your pardon," said each of the young men. "If you are 
beat, gentlemen, we will go back," said Mr. Gano. Thus ended 
the fight. 

On another occasion, hearing that there had .been a revival 
at a certain place on his route, he made an effort to reach it that 
night. It was after dark when he reached the place. Knocking 
at the door of a house, with which he was unacquainted, and a 
woman answering the call, he said to her : "I have understood, 
madam, that my Father has some children in this place, and I 
wish to learn ^^•here they are, that I may find lodgings for the 
night." " I hope I am one of your Father's children," said the 
woman ; " come in, dear sir, and lodge here." 

In this manner, with his apparently exhaustless resources, 
did this eminent man of God find his way to all homes and 
hearts, and then, with equal wisdom and readiness, apply the 
blessed truth of the Gospel. After spending a few years in the 
manner above related, he was waited on at Morristown , N. J. 
by some messengers who came a distance of about eight hundred 
miles, to solicit him to take charge of an infant church in North 
Carolina. After a brief consideration, he accepted the call, and 
moved his family thence. At the "Jersey settlement" in North 
Carolina, he remained about two years. The church grew to be 
large, and his labors were abundantly useful throughout an ex- 
tensive region of country. But a war breaking out with the 
Cherokee Indians, he moved back to l^ew Jersey. 

June 19, 1762, the first Baptist church in the city of New 
York was constituted by Benjamin Miller and John Gano, and 
the latter, who had recently moved from North Carolina to New 
Jersey, immediately became its pastor. He also accepted the 

John Gano. 125 

pastoral care of the church in Philadelphia, and for a number of 
years was pastor of all the Baptists in the largest two cities on 
the American Continent. 

At the breaking out of the war between England and the 
American Colonies, Mr. Gano warmly espoused the cause of the 
latter. In 1776, he entered the army as chaplain, and continued 
in the service till the close of the war. In this position he 
maintained the same purity of character, and the same zeal and 
energy in the cause of Christ, that he exhibited on th'e mission- 
ary field and in the pastoral office. Some specimens of the 
many incidents related concerning him, while in the army, may 
be interesting. 

On one occasion, the General informed him, on Saturday, 
that the army would move on the following Monday, but re- 
quested him not to speak of it till after religious services next 
day. On Sunday morning he preached from the words : Being 
ready to eicpart on the viorrozv. Immediately after the sermon, 
orders were given to prepare for the march. On another occa- 
sion, as he was going to pray with the regiment, an officer, who 
did not observe him, was swearing profanely. Saluting the 
officer cheerfully and politely, he said to him : "You pray early 
this morning." "I beg your pardon, sir," said the officer. 
"Oh I cannot pardon you," replied the chaplain; "carry your 
case to your God." 

One day, standing near where some soldiers were disputing 
as to whose turn it was to cut wood, he heard one of them say 
he would be d — nd if he would cut it. Soon, however, the 
profane soldier was convinced that the task was his, and took 
up the ax to perform it. Immediately Mr. Gano stepped up to 
him and said : "Give me the ax." "Oh no," said the soldier, 
"the chaplain shall not cut wood." "Yes, I must," said Mr 
Gano, "But why," said the soldier. "Because," said Mr. 
Gano, "I just heard you say you would be d — nd if you cut it ; 
and I would rather take the labor off your hands than that you 
should be miserable for ever." 

At the close of the war, Mr. Gano resumed his labors as 
pastor of the church in New York city. He continued in this 
position till about the year 1786. At this time William Wood, 
pastor of Limestone church in Mason county, Ky., visited New 
York, and made such flattering representations of the western 

126 History of Kentucky Baptists, 

Country, both for ministerial usefulness, and temporal advantage, 
as induced Mr. Gano to call a church meeting, and consult the 
church about his going to Kentucky. Mistaking his motive, 
and supposing that he only desired them to increase his salary, 
they treated the matter with apparent indifference, leaving him 
to the free exercise of his own judgment. He at once deter- 
mined to go. Learning this, the church offered to raise his sa- 
lary, and made an earnest effort to retain him. But it was now 
too late. He had formed his resolution, and could not be 
changed. He soon sold his small possessions, paid off some 
debts that had been embarrassing him, and started to Kentucky. 
He came to Redstone in wagons, and there took a boat. There 
was still much danger to be apprehended from the savages along 
the Ohio river ; and, on the way their boat was partially 
wrecked. However, Mr. Gano and his family landed in safety 
at Limestone, June 17, 1787. He proceeded to Washington, 
where he preached his first sermon in Kentucky from the words : 
''So they all got safe to land.'' Some time after this, his son 
Stephen, then pastor of the Baptist church in Providence, Rhode 
Island, paid him a visit, on which occasion he preached from 
the words : / am glad of the coming of Stephanas, After 
remaining a short time at Washington, Mr. Gano moved to the 
neighborhood of Lexington, and became pastor of Town Fork 
church. Here he became the colaborer of Craig, Taylor, Hick- 
man, Dudley, and others of that noble band that were in Ken- 
tucky before him. Among these brethren who recognized him 
as a father in the gospel, he labored with faithfulness and effi- 
ciency, about ten years, when, in 1798, he had his shoulder 
broken by a fall from his horse. Before he recovered from this, 
he had a paralytic stroke, which deprived him of the power of 
speech. From this he so far recovered as to be able to preach. 
During the "Great Revival," it is said, he preached in an "aston- 
ishing manner." While Elkhorn Association was much agitat- 
ed by the appearance of Arianism in some of the churches 
about the year 1803, Mr. Gano was carried to Lexington, and 
assisted into the pulpit, where he preached a masterly discourse 
on the Deity of Christ, which was thought to have a salutary 
effect in checking the spread of that baleful heresy. The next 
year, August 9, 1804, this venerable servant of Christ departed 

John Gano. 127 

this life at his home near Frankfort, Kentucky, in the 78th year 
of his age. 

This great and good man had some marked eccentricities ; 
but they were such as heightened his efficiency, without de- 
tracting from his piety, and illustrate the important truth that 
God adapts all the means he uses in the accomplishment of his 
purposes, to the ends they are designed to subserve. The fol- 
lowing observations from the pen of his personal friend, Rich- 
ard Furman, long the distinguished pastor of the Baptist church 
at Charleston, South Carolina, will appropriately close this 
sketch of Mr. Gano : 

"The late Rev. John Gano will be long remembered with 
affection and respect in the United States of America. He was 
a person below the middle stature, and, when young, of a slen- 
der form ; but of a firm vigorous constitution. His mind was 
formed for social intercourse and friendship. His passions were 
strong, and his sensibilities could be easily excited, but so 
chastened and regulated were they, by the meekness of wisdom, 
that he preserved great composure of spirit and command of his 
words and actions. 

"As a minister of Christ, he shone like a star of the first 
magnitude in the American churches, and moved in a widely 
extended field of action. For this office, God had endowed 
him with a large portion of grace and excellent gifts. 'He 
believed and therefore spoke.' His doctrines were those contain- 
ed in the Baptist (Philadelphia) Confession of Faith, and are 
commonly called Calvinistic. 

"Like John the harbinger of our Redeemer, he was a 
burning and a shining light, and many rejoiced in his light. 
Resembling the sun, he rose in the church with morning bright- 
ness, advanced regularly to his station of meridian splendor 
and then gently declined with mild effulgence, till he disap 
peared without a cloud to intercept his rays or obscure his 

BooNES Creek Church, located in the eastern part of Fay- 
ette county, was constituted of fourteen members, on the 
second Sunday in November, 1785, by John Taylor and John 
Tanner, and received into Elkhorn Association, in August of 
the next year. It reported to the Association, in 1788, a mem- 
bership of thirty-seven. David Thompson was among its mes- 

J 28 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

sengers, and was probably its first pastor. For a long time, its 
growth was slow, and it had many dissentions, in consequence 
of differences of doctrinal views among its members. Boggs 
Fork church in an adjoining neighborhood, probably originated 
from these dissensions, about the year 1798, but was again 
merged into the mother church, some years afterwards. At a 
much earlier day, the church now called East Hickman origin- 
ated from Boones Creek, and has been, and still is, quite a 
flourishing church. 

Boones Creek church is now located at Athens, in Fayette 
county, is a member of an Association bearing its name, and is 
the oldest, except Providence, and largest, except Mt. Olive, 
in that fraternity. 

David Thompson was a native of Virginia, and began his 
labors in that State at an early period of Baptist operations there. 
He was a member of the General Association of Virginia, from its 
formation in 1771, and was, at this date, pastor of a church in 
Louisa county, known as Thompson's or Goldmine. He came 
to Kentucky at an early period, and was, for a short time, a 
member, and probably the pastor of Boones Creek church. 
From this point, he moved to Madison county, and probably 
succeeded John Tanner as Pastor of Tates Creek church. The 
time of his death is not known. 

Tates Creek church of Separate Baptists was gathered 
by Andrew Tribble, in i786. Mr. Tribble was immediately 
chosen its pastor, and continued to serve in that capacity till 
near the time of his death. Tates Creek church was very 
prosperous, from the beginning. Among its early members 
were 'Squire Boone and Thomas Shelton, both preachers. In 
1790, this church embraced a membership of 210, and was, at 
that time, one of the largest churches in Kentucky. It united 
with South Kentucky Association, and remained in that body 
till 1793, when it, with four others, drew off and formed Tates 
Creek Association of "United Baptists." This was the first 
application of the term United Baptists, in Kentucky. For a 
long period, Tates Creek church was very prosperous. Its 
membership is now small, but the 'church seems to be in a 
healthy condition. 

Andrew Tribble, was a son of George Tribble, a respect- 
able farmer of Caroline county, Virginia. The father was of 

John Gano. 129 

Welsh extraction, and it is not known that he ever made any 
profession of religion. 

Andrew Tribble was born in March, 1741. He was 
among the first converts to the Baptist faith in his part of the 
State ; and was often heard to remark that he was the fifty-third 
Baptist on the north side of James river. He commenced 
preaching soon after he was converted, and about the same time 
that the Craigs, Waller, Childs and others began their meetings 
in Elijah Craig's tobacco barn. He was probably baptized by 
James Read, and at the time that Elijah Craig and others went 
to North Carolina and induced him to come to Orange and 
some of the neighboring counties to baptize the first converts to 
the Baptist faith in that part of Virginia. He was, for a time, 
a member of Goldmine church in Louisa county, from which he 
was sent as a messenger to the first Meeting ot the General As- 
sociation of Virginia, in May, 1771. After this he accepted the 
pastoral care of a church in Albemarl county. It being near 
the residence of Thomas Jefferson, that statesman frequently 
came to Mr. Tribble's meetings. The Virginians, and especi- 
ally the able and learned R. B. C. Howell, assert that Mr. 
Jefferson conceived the idea of a popular government for the 
American States, while observing the business transactions ot 
the little Baptist church, of which Mr. Tribble was pastor. 

Mr. Tribble moved to Kentucky, and settled on Dix river, 
in 1783, but soon afterwards moved to what is now Clark coun- 
ty. Here, in January, 1786, he united with Howard Creek 
(now Providence) church, of which Robert Elkin was pastor. 
During this year Mr. Tribble gathered Tates Creek, and became 
its pastor. Some three years after this, a personal difficulty 
occurred between him and his pastor, at Howard Creek, which 
resulted in nearly an equal division of the church. Helps were 
called from the neighboring churches, and the difficulty adjusted. 
Mr. Tribble's party was constituted a new church, called Unity. 
The Elkin party, at Howard's Creek, according to the terms of 
adjustment, retained the old constitution and the church prop - 
erty, but changed its name to Providence. 

Mr. Tribble was constituted a member, and chosen pastor, 
of Unity church. He soon became entangled in a law suit 
with one of the members, of the name of Haggard, which dififi- 
culty was settled by Mr. Tribble's making satisfactory acknow- 

130 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

ledgements. This seems to have resulted in severing his pas- 
toral relation to that church. He, however, continued to serve 
Tates Creek till the infirmities of old age made it necessary for 
him to retire. He died in great peace, December 22, 1822. 

Mr. Tribble was a preacher of good ability, and of com- 
mendable zeal. His early labors were performed in Virginia, 
where he endured the persecutions that were the common lot 
of Baptist preachers, at that period. Like the Craigs, Shackle- 
ford and a host of others, he endured his term in a Virginia 
jail, for preaching the gospel contrary to law. He was a very 
active and successful laborer, in Kentucky, for about thirty-five 
years. His son, to whom the author is indebted for the prin- 
cipal facts of his life, supposes that he must have baptized 2,000 
persons, in Kentucky. 

He married a Miss Sally Burrus in early life, by whom he 
raised a large and respectable family, ol whom, his son Peter 
became a Baptist preacher. 

His last illness, caused by stricture of the bladder, was pro- 
tracted and very painful. But his death was most triumphant. 
A few hours before his departure he said to his son Peter and 
another young preacher, standing at his bedside : " Boys, you 
see me here now. In a few days I shall be gone. I give you 
this charge. Play the man for your God." 



The year 1787 commenced with only three churches more 
n the State — or Territory, rather — than existed at the begin- 
ling of the preceding year, for, while four morti churches had 
Dean constituted, one had been dissolved. Gilbert's Creek, the 
eldest church in Elkhorn Association, and the oldest in Ken- 
:ucky, except Cedar Creek and Severns Valley, was reported 
:o the Association in August, 1786, "dissolved." At the be- 
ginning of 1787 there were, therefore, in Kentucky thirteen 
Regular Baptist churches and eight of Separate Baptists. There 
ivere at the same period at least seventeen preachers of the Reg- 
ulars and eight of the Separates. There were two Regular Asso- 
ciations. During this year there were one Separate and three 
Regular churches added to the list. Marble Creek church was 
:onstituted, but not recognized this year. 

CowPERS Run (or, as it is sometimes written, Cooper's 
R-un) church, was located in Bourbon county, not far from the 
present site of Paris, and was most probably gathered by 
Augustine Eastin and James Garrard. It was constituted of 
less than twenty members, in 1787, and joined Elkhorn Associ- 
ation in August ot the same year. Notwithstanding this was 
a frontier settlement, and the Indians were so troublesome that 
this little church lost five of its members* within its first year 
by their cruelty, it enjoyed a regular course of prosperity from 
its beginning, till 1795, when it reached a membership of 119. 
After this it gradually declined, till 1803, when it was dropped 
from the Association, on account of its having become heret- 
ical in doctrine. After this it appears no more on the list of 

'^Chris. Rep. 1856, p. 393. 


132 Augustine Eastin. 

Kentucky Baptist churches, though it continued to exist as an 
independent body a number of years longer. 

Augustine Eas-sin appears to have been the first and oniy 
pastor of Cowpers Run church. He was a brilliant man, of 
good social standing and irreproachable morals, but was un- 
stable in his opinions. For a time he kept within such bounds 
of recognized orthodoxy as to be tolerated by the churches, and 
was useful in the ministry ; but his propensity to ape men of 
distinction led him to such extremes in error that he was finally 
cut off from the Baptist ministry. 

Augustine Eastin was among the early converts to Christi- 
anity in Goochland county, Virginia, under the ministry of 
Samuel Harriss and others. He became a member of Dover 
church, in that county, and soon afterward entered the minis- 
try. His zeal in his holy calling procured him a term in Ches- 
terfield jail. He was, however, in good company, for William 
Webber, Joseph Anthony, John Weatherford, John Tanner, 
Jeremiah Walker and David Tinsley, a noble, godly band of 
Christian ministers, were incarcerated in the same prison for 
preaching the gospel. 

Mr. Eastin emigrated to Kentucky in 1784, and remained 
for a time in Fayette county, but afterwards settled in Bour- 
bon. He and James Garrard, then a preacher, and afterwards 
Governor of Kentucky, gathered Cowpers Run church, in 
1787. To this church Mr. Eastin preached with good success 
until he embraced Arianism, when he and the church of which 
he was pastor were cut off from the fellowship of the Baptist 
churches. Mr. Semple speaks of him after this manner : 
"Augustine Eastin, though a man of some talents, was never 
any credit to the cause of truth. He appear.^ to have been 
always carried away with the opinions of others whom he 
wished to imitate. Sometimes he was a professed and positive 
Calvinist. Then shifting about, he is a warm Arminian. Then 
to the right about again, he is reconvinced that Calvinism is 
the only true way. Having moved to Kentucky, he finds 
some professors of high standing in civil life who lean to the 
Arian scheme. Mr. Eastin soon becomes their champion, and 
even writes a pamphlet in defense of Arianism. Mr. Eastin's 
moral character has not been impeached. On this head both 
he and his coadjutors are men of high respectability." 

James Garrard. 133 

James Garrard was a member and preacher, in Cowpers 
Run church from its constitution. The purity of his character, his 
eminent ability, and his great usefulness, both to church and 
state, entitle him to a conspicuous place in the history of the 
early Baptists in Virginia and Kentucky. The Garrards were 
descended from an old Baptist family of Pennsylvania, from 
whence they emigrated to Virginia, at an early period. John 
Garrard was one of the first Regular Baptists that preached the 
gospel in the Old Dominion, and was a principal laborer in rais- 
ing up the first churches of which Ketocton Association was 

James Garrard was born in Stafford county, Virginia, January 
14, 1749. Of his youth we have no account. He was an offi- 
cer in the Revolutionary War, While in the army, he was 
called to represent his county in the Virginia Legislature. In 
this body, he was very active in procuring the passage of the 
famous bill, securing Religious liberty to the people of his state. 
He was a member of Harford church of Regular Baptists, in 
his native county, but it is not known at what period he pro- 
fessed conversion. He was an early settler in the wilds of Ken- 
tucky, where he endured the privations, and faced the dangers 
common to the pioneers. He entered the ministry after he 
came to Kentucky, and was zealous in aiding his fellow minis- 
ters in building up the cause of Christ. But it may be doubted 
that he was "called of God" to the gospel ministry. He had 
not the gift of a ready speech, and was every way better quali- 
fied to make laws, than to preach grace. From his early ac- 
quaintance with the settlers, to his old age, he was said to be 
the most popular man in Kentucky. He was sent from Ken- 
tucky to the Virginia Legislature, was a member of most of the 
many Conventions that Kentucky held, in arranging for a sep- 
arate government, aided in forming the first constitution of the 
commonwealth, and was elected to fill the office of Governor 
two successive terms. This latter office was unfortunate for 
his Religious Character. 

^ He appointed to the office of Secretary of State, during 
both his gubernatorial terms, Harry Toulmin, a polished and 
scholarly Englishman, who was a Unitarian preacher. Before 
the close of the second term, Mr Toulmin had converted the 
Governor to his religious sentiments. Mr. Eastin, the pastor 

134 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

of Cowpers Run church, was soon converted to the same theory 
and at once began to advocate it from the pulpit, and defend it 
with his pen. An earnest effort was made by Elkhorn Associ- 
ciation to feclaim their erring brethren, but all in vain. The 
church was dropped from this Association, in 1803, and this 
closed the ministry of Mr. Garrard, among the Baptists. It 
should be remembered, however, that except this error in his 
doctrinal views, the eminent purity of his character was un- 
tarnished, to the last. His popularity among the citizens of 
the state remained till death. One of the counties of the state 
was named, in his honor, and the legislature ordered a monu- 
ment to be erected to his memory, and on it engraved his he- 
roic deeds, in defense of his country, the eminent services 
he rendered as a statesman, and the spotless purity of his 
life, as a citizen and a christian. He died at his residence in 
Bourbon county, January 19, 1822, aged 73 years and 5 days. 

Mr. Semple makes the following observations concerning 
Mr. Garrard's career: "He continued to preach until he was 
made Governor. For the honors of men, he resigned the 
office of God. He relinquished the clerical robe, for the more 
splendid mantle of human power. The prophet says to Asa — J 
Tf ye forsake God he will forsake you.' It is not strange, " 
that Colonel Garrard, after such a course, should fall into many 
foolish and hurtful snares." Let it be tried a thousand times, 
and in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases, it will be found, 
that preachers who aim at worldly honors, will be completely 
ruined, or greatly depreciated as preachers." "It is due to 
Governor Garrard to say, that his conduct has been orderly, 
and indeed gentlemanly ; and that he has honored every 
character which he has ever assumed, except the one which, 
of all others, he ought to have valued." 

Lick Creek church was a small body, located somewhere 
in Nelson county. It was probably gathered by James 
Rogers, a member of Cedar Creek church, and was constitut- 
ed, in 1787. Soon after its constitution, it was much agitated 
on the subject of slavery. It appears to have first united with 
the Separate Baptists, but in 1792, joined Salem Association, of 
which it remained a member till 1812. After this, its name 
disappears, proving that it either dissolved,or changed its name. 

James Rogers. 135 

However, it acted its part among the Kentucky churches, for 
a period of at least twenty-five years. 

James Rogers, who was early a preacher in this church, 
was one of the first settlers of what is now Nelson county. 
He and several others, among whom were two or three of his 
brothers, built Rogers' fort, about four miles west of the pres- 
ent site of Bardstown in 1780. He was quite a prominent citi- 
zen of Nelson county, and served it in two of the Danville con- 
ventions, which met to devise means for forming a government 
for Kentucky. 

James Rogers was born, either in Ireland, or of Irish 
parents, in Maryland, about the year 17^2. He was a Baptist 
preacher before he came to Kentucky, and was in the constitu- 
tion of Cedar Creek church, July 4, 1781. When Lick Creek 
church was formed, he became a member of that fraternity. 
Whether he was ever pastor of that, or any other church, is 
not known. He was not a fluent speaker, but possessed a 
good intellect and a fair education, and was useful to the 
churches of his generation, in defending their doctrine, both 
from the pulpit, and with his pen. In a day when small pamph- 
lets were much more rare than large volumes are now, he 
published a small work in defense of Restricted Communion. 
In his preface to this treatise, he says of the Baptists : "Their 
aim is to keep virtue, and conform to the will of the Most 
High as revealed in the law and testimony without adding to, 
or diminishing from." In his premise, he assumes the order of 
christian exercises to be "Repentance, Faith, Baptism and par- 
taking of the Lord's Supper." His argument from this prem- 
ise is clear, forcible, and was well adapted to the masses, at 
the time he wrote. He published several other pamphlets on 
controverted subjects, one of which was on the operation of 
the Holy Spirit. 

He lived near Rogers' Fort till his old age, when he mar- 
ried for his second wife a Mrs. Flourney, and moved to what 
is now Boyle county. Here he died peacefully, at home, in 
the eighty-fifth year of his age. 

Mr. Rogers raised five sons and two daughters. Of the 
former, Evan Rogers was many years moderator of South Dis- 
trict Association, and William Rogers served four successive 
terms in the Kentucky Legislature. That eminently useful 


136 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

minister of Christ, Jacob Rogers, was a nephew of James 

Boone's Creek church, of Separate Baptists, was formed 
in 1787, in Fayette county, doubtless by a division of the Reg- 
ular Baptist Church of the same name. It contained, in 1790, 
thirty-six members, and was a member of South Kentucky 
Association. The zealous and eccentric Joseph Craig was its 
preacher at that time. He however removed his membership 
to Hickman's Creek church, next year. We have no definite 
account of this second Boones Creek church beyond the facts 
already given, but some circumstances surrounding it, give 
pretty good assurance that it grew out of a bitter spirit, gen- 
dered by the unsuccessful attempt, in 1785, to unite the Reg- 
ulars and Separates, and the intolerance of some of the old 
ministers, who were exceedingly tenacious for a limited atone- 
ment and a full recognition of God's eternal decrees, on the part 
of the Regulars, and an overheated zeal for feet-washing and the 
laying on of hands after baptism, on the part of the Separates. 
The little church thus born of contention, was short lived and 
probably accomplished little good. 

A common and very serious evil is here illustrated. At 
an early period, Elkhorn Association saw the impropriety of 
constituting little feeble churches, so close together as to pre- 
clude the possibility of their ever becoming strong enough to 
support a pastor, or command respect. This evil practice, 
which prevailed, even at that early period, was discussed and 
condemned. But no remedy was found. The evil still ex- 
ists. In many parts of the country, there are three or four 
times as many churches as ought to exist. And the conse- 
quence is, that, instead of having preaching every Sabbath, 
they were unable to sustain preaching once a month. This re- 
sults in the dissolution of nearly or quite half the churches 
that are constituted, after a feeble, sickly existence of only a 
few years. 

Marble Creek Church, now called East Hickman, is lo- 
cated in the southern border of Fayette county. It also was in 
part at least, the offspring of Boones Creek church. It was 
gathered principally by the labors of William Hickman, and 
was constituted June i5, 1787, by George Stokes Smith and 
Ambrose Dudley. The church consisted of nineteen mem- 

• Marble Creek Church. 137 

bers, among whom were William School, Robert Fryar, John 
Hunt, Martin Stafford, Samuel Bryant and Flanders Callo- 

The manner in which Marble Creek church originated 
illustrates some of the difficulties, arising out of the doctrinal 
differences, with which our pioneer fathers had to contend. 
Boones Creek church, at its constitution, contained elements 
of discord, that were not long in developing themselves. 
Three parties were soon formed, and in a short time became 
three churches. The party which retained the old name and 
constitution, was headed by John Tanner, who though at first 
a Separate Baptist, had become a "United Baptist," in North 
Carolina, and after he came to Kentucky, allied himself with 
the Regulars. From that he became a Hyper-Calvinist, 
searching deeply into eternal decrees, and contending uncom- 
promisingly for the eternal justification of the elect. Joseph Craig 
lead the zealous Separates, which formed Boones Creek church 
of Separate Baptists. About this time the revival that began 
on Clear Creek, the year before, reached the Boones Creek set- 
tlement. Tanner was pastor of the church, and opposed the 
revival, calling it the work of the devil. William Hickman was 
sent for, and when he came, zealously encouraged the revival. 
This divided the church into two parties. Mr. Hickman mov- 
ed the meetings to an adjoining neighborhood on Marble 
creek, having previously baptized some twenty persons. 
Here he continued to preach till Marble Creek church was con- 
stituted, as related above. Boones Creek church which had 
been constituted only two years before, had now become three 
churches. Two of them, however, professed to be of the same 
faith and order, both adopting the Philadelphia Confession of 
Faith. Marble Creek petitioned for membership in Elkhorn 
Association ; but some trifling objections being made by 
Boones Creek, it was rejected, or, rather, final action on the ap- 
plication was deferred till next year, when the church was re- 
ceived. John Price was called to its pastoral care, and it en- 
joyed a moderate prosperity under his ministry. During the 
Great Revival, it received 133 members by experience and bap- 

*Chris. Rep. Aug. 1856. p. 66. Calloway married a daughter of Daniel 


138 Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. * 

tism, in one year and reached an aggregate membership of 188. 
After this it became involved in the unfortunate contention be- 
tween Town Fork and Bryants churches. Its membership be- 
came so much diminished that it was nigh to dissolution. In 
the division of Elkhorn Association Marble Creek church be- 
came a member of Licking Association. But afterwards, un- 
der the pastoral care of Ryland T. Dillard, it returned to Elk- 
horn. Under Mr. Dillard's care, it grew to be one of the larg- 
est and most reputable churches of that honored old Frater- 
nity, and is still a large and prosperous body. 

John Price, the first pastor of Marble Creek church was 
raised up to the ministry in Shenandoah county, Virginia. He 
was a minister for a short period, in old South River church, 
and was there associated with William Marshall, Joseph Red- 
ding, Lewis Corban and John Taylor, all of whom came to Ken- 
tucky. Mr. Price raised up Water Lick church, in Ketocton 
Association, to which he ministered for a time. "He acted 
for many years as clerk of Ketocton Association, and was, 
while in Virginia, considered a man of weight in religious con- 
cerns. In Kentucky likewise he has been distinguished as a 
man of zeal and parts."* For a number of years, he was ac- 
tive and useful in building up the young churches and carrying 
the gospel into new settlements. He was one of the com- 
mittee that arranged the terms of General Union between the 
Separates and Regulars, in 1801, and was a prominent man 
among the ministers of Kentucky, at that time, and for a few 
years afterwards. But the best and wisest men have their 
weak points. During the unhappy contest in Elkhorn Asso- 
ciation, which resulted in its division and the formation of Lick- 
ing Association, most or a'l of the preachers in the Association 
were more or less involved in the strife. "The most active 
among them was John Price, a man of an unpleasant temper, 
of great asperity of manners, and whose zeal on all occasions 
has partaken too much of the nature of party spirit, "f 

From this period Mr. Price's usefulness was greatly im- 
paired. He was an active member of Licking Association, 
and exerted the measure of his strength to build it up. But 
there must have been something wrong in originating that 

*His. Va. Bap., p. 319. tBenedict, Vol. II., p. 234. 

John Price. 139 

body. A few years after its constitution, it began to exhibit 
indications of weakness and decay. It has continued to wither 
until the present time, and is now a weak and inefficient 
body. Mr. Price hved to a good old age, and maintained to 
the end, an untarnished reputation for sincerity of purpose, 
and devotion to what he believed to be the truth. 

Ryland Thompson Dillard succeeded John Price in the 
pastoral care of East Hickman church. He was a young 
preacher at that time, but was well educated, full of holy zeal, 
and possessed excellent gifts for the gospel ministry. He 
preached to this church from the time of his ordination, till 
the infirmities of old age compelled him to retire from the 
pastoral office. 

R. T. Dillard was born in Caroline county, Virginia, 
November 17, 1797. His father, John Dillard, was a wealthy 
farmer, and was of English extraction. His mother's maiden 
name was Alice Duvall. She was of French extraction. They 
were both Episcopalians. They raised eleven children — six 
daughters and five sons of which Ryland Thompson was the 
youngest. His father died when Ryland was about three years 
old. He was raised up on a farm, and in the church of his parents, 
and enjoyed the advantages of the best schools the country 
could afford. At the age of fourteen, he entered Rappahan- 
nock Academy, where he remained four years, and received a 
diploma of graduation. Just about the time he returned home 
from school, the British invaded Virginia. Young Dillard en- 
tered the army as a volunteer, and remained in the service till 
the war closed. In 18 17, he visited Kentucky, and was so 
well pleased with the country, that he determined to make it 
his future home. Accordingly, he came to Winchester, the 
next year, and immediately commenced reading law in the of- 
fice of Hubbard Taylor, Jr. After reading six months, he 
was admitted to the bar, by a license from Judges James Clark 
and Eli Shortridge. After practicing a short time, he entered 
into a copartnership with Richard French, at Winchester. On 
the 23rd of February, 1820, he was married to Amelia Ann, 
daughter of William E. Dudley, and grand-daughter of that 
eminent servant of Jesus Christ, Ambrose Dudley. He set- 

*Benedict, Vol. II., p. 234. 

140 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

tied in Winchester, and continued the practice of law, about 
four years, with brilliant success. His worldly prospects were 
as flattering as a young rnan could reasonably desire. Wealth 
and honor were before him, and he possessed all the means of 
laying hold of them. But God had chosen him to occupy a 
higher calling, and had set before him greater honors and more 
durable riches. 

He was at this time a member of the Episcopal church,, 
but was so far from being a christain, that he openly avowed 
his contempt for the christian religion. ' 'I prided myself, " said 
he, "on my infidelity. I took great pleasure in trying to 
prove to Elder Thomas P. Dudley, (an uncle of his wife) that 
he was wrong in being a christian. I had studied Tom Paine's 
Age of Reason thoroughly, and thought myself master of the 
subject. But by some means I got to reading the Bible close- 
ly, and became much interested in it. This I endeavored to 
conceal, even from my wife. There was one text that greatly 
puzzled me. It was this. — T will have mercy on whom I will 
have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have 
compassion : So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him 
that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.' My trouble 
became very great. About this time my wife went on a visit 
to her friends in Fayette county. I determined to drown my 
troubles in amusements during her absence. The first night, I 
and two other young men spent in gambling for watermelons. 
At daylight, I dropped down on my bed and fell asleep. 
When I awoke the sun was shining brightly. The thought oc- 
curred to me with great power. — 'What if this were the Judg- 
ment Day ?' I became more miserable than ever. I read the 
Bible every opportunity, but carefully concealed this from 
everybody around me. One day, about this time. Captain 
Allen, an infidel, passing my office as I was sitting in the door, 
slapped me on the shoulder and said'. — T hear that McClure (a 
blacksmith and a Baptist) has converted you.' I replied. — 
'There is not a word of truth in it. I would to God it were so. 
I would give a world to have a hope in Christ. ' Allen burst 
into tears, and said. — 'If I had known there was any truth in 
the report, I would not have named it to you in this familiar 
way, for any consideration.' The last of that week, I went to 
see my wife, and on Sunday, went to hear old father Ambrose 

Ryland Thompson Dillard. 141 

Dudley preach at Bryants. His text was. — 'Who has dehver- 
ed us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the 
Kingdom of His dear Son.' I thought I could see how others 
could be justified, and I felt different from what I ever had felt 
before, but was not satisfied that I was truly converted." 

Within the next month, Mr. Dillard gained such a degree 
of assurance as enabled him to relate his exercises to the 
church. The brethren, being satisfied of his conversion, gave 
him the hand of christian fellowship. The next day he was 
baptized in to the fellowship of the Particular Baptist church 
at Bryants, by the venerable Ambrose Dudley. This was in 
September, 1823. Mr. Dillard was the last individual that this 
aged man of God ever baptized. Two years after this he 
went to give an account of his stewardship. 

Almost immediately after Mr. Dillard's conversion, he 
felt impressed with the duty to preach the Gospel. The strug- 
gle between duty and interest was felt, but did not long con- 
tinue. He began at once to take an active part in the prayer 
meetings ; and when the impression that God had called him to 
preach took the form of conviction, he conferred no longer 
with flesh and blood, but determined immediately to abandon 
the practice of law, and devote his life to preaching the Gos- 
pel of the Son of God. 

Early in the year of 1824, the church at Bryants licensed 
him to exercise his gift. The first attempt he made to preach 
was from the text: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and 
His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto 
you." He was much discouraged at what appeared to him an 
entire failure, and, before he was done speaking, resolved not 
to make another effort to preach. The meeting was at a 
private house near Winchester. When he was done speaking, 
■ an old brother sprang up and exclaimed : — "I thank God that 
the good Lord has cheated the devil out of another lawyer." 
Mr. Dillard was soon encouraged to make another effort, and, 
from that, he continued to make and fill appointments till the 
fall of that year. At this time, the church, formerly called 
Marble Creek, but now known as East Hickman, had become 
reduced to twenty-seven members. Of these, only two were 
males, and they were too old and feeble to attend to business. 
The church met and invited Mr. Dillard to become its pastor. 

142 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Two sisters were appointed a committee to inform him of the 
call. He accepted, and was ordained to the full work of the 
ministry, by Thomas P. Dudley and William Rash, in the fall 
of 1824. To East Hickman church he preached about forty- 
six years. 

On the resignation of Jeremiah Vardeman, in 1830, Mr. 
Dillard was called to the care of Davids Fork church, to which 
he ministered twenty-six years. 

Davids Fork Church was a branch, or "arm," of Bry- 
ants, for about fifteen years. The mother church, which was 
constituted in I786, occupied a large territory, and grew so 
rapidly that it was deemed best to have two places of worship. 
The church held its business meetings at Bryants Station, but 
built another house on the head waters of a small stream 
called Davids Fork of Elkhorn. To this point an arm of 
Bryants was extended the next year after that church was con- 
stituted. Ambrose Dudley preached alternately at Bryants 
and Davids Fork. 

On the 26th of August, 1801, the Arm on Davids Fork was 
constituted an independent church, and, the following year, re- 
ported to Elkhorn Association a membership of 297. Mr. 
Dudley accepted the pastoral care of this young, but full- 
grown, church, at the time of its constitution, and served in 
that capacity till 1806, when he resigned in order to devote 
more of his time to Bryants. He was succeeded by Robinson 
Hunt, who presided over the church till December, 1808, when 
he was removed by death. Jeremiah Vardeman was the next 
pastor. He accepted the charge in February, 18 10. During 
the first six months of Mr. Vardeman's partoral labors, at Da- 
vids Fork, a hundred and seventy souls were added to the 
church and among them, that valuable pioneer preacher of 
Missouri, James E. Welsh. During this general revival of 
1827—8, more than two hundred souls were added to this 
church. Among these was the gifted evangelist, T. J. Fisher. 
Soon after this revival, thirty-one members were excluded from 
the church in consequence of their having embraced the heresy 
of Alexander Campbell. This occurred in 1830. In August 
of that year, Mr. Vardeman resigned his charge, to move to 
Missouri. Mr. Dillard was his immediate successor. To Da- 
vids Fork and East Hickman churches he devoted the principal 

Ryland Thompson Dillard. 143 

pastoral labors of his long and eminently useful ministry. 
Under some urgent contingencies, he took the pastoral care of 
several other churches, at different periods, and for short times. 

In 1827, the Baptist church in Lexington was divided into 
two parties by an attempt, on the part of its pastor, James 
Fishback, to have its name changed from "the Baptist church," 
to "the Church of Christ." Fishback led off a faction of 
thirty-eight members, and became their pastor. Jeremiah 
Vardeman became pastor of the old church. After a few 
years, Mr. Dillard succeeded in uniting the parties, and preach- 
ed to them till harmony was restored ; when Silas M. Noel was 
called to take charge of the church. 

Mr. Dillard was pastor, for brief periods, of Providence 
Ephesus, Paris and Clear Creek churches. While pastor of the 
latter, during a period of two years, it enjoyed an extensive 
revival. He related the following incident, which occurred 
during the revival : 

The mother of Henry Clay [the distinguished statesman,] 
was a member of Clear Creek church. One night during the 
revival, we had meeting at a private house. After preaching 
commenced, a very gay young lady, a niece of Mr. Clay,' came 
in. She was elegantly dressed, and wore, as an especial attrac- 
tion, a new styled hat, adorned with a very fine ostrich feather. 
She took a conspicuous seat on a piece of furniture in the room. 
At the close of the sermon there was much feeling among the 
people. Several came up and desired me to pray for them. 
Just as we were about to kneel in prayer, the gay young lady 
sprang from her seat, tore her fine hat from her head, dashed it 
on the floor, exclaiming, 'My hat and feathers came well nigh 
sending my soul to hell,' and rushed forward to join the peni- 
tents in prayer. As we knelt in prayer, the venerable mother 
of Mr. Clay, cried out, 'Brother Dillard, don't forget Henry.' " 

Mr. Dillard was afflicted from his youth by a scrofulous 
affection. It first attacked his lungs, in the nature oi tuburcido- 
sts, and threatened to carry him off After he was relieved 
from this, he was attacked with fistula. This refused to yield 
to medical treatment. His physicians advised him to take a 
sea voyage, as the only hope of obtaining relief. Accordingly, 
in January, 1839, ^^^ sailed for Europe. During the first part 
of the voyage, his health, already very feeble, seemed to de- 

144 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

cline rapidly, until he reached mid-ocean, when he despaired 
of living through the approaching night. He described his 
situation after the following manner : 

"When night came on, I, and all on board, thought I 
would die before morning. I knew how they disposed of dead 
bodies at sea, by nailing them up in boxes and casting them 
into the deep. My feeling, at the thought of being cast into 
the ocean, was horrible beyond description. I thought of all 
the grave-yards that I could remember, and felt great longings 
to be buried in the humblest, among slaves, rather than be 
thrown into the sea. I would have gladly given all I possessed 
to be buried then in my own family grave-yard, near Lexing- 
ton. But while I was suffering this inexpressible agony of soul, 
this passage of Scripture came into my mind. 'And the sea 
gave up the dead which were in it.' This gave me immediate 
comfort. I felt that I would be as safe in the sea, as on the 
dry land. In a few minutes I went to sleep, and inthe morn- 
ing awoke, feeling much better." 

After traveling over England, France, Scotland and a part 
of Ireland, he returned home with his health restored, having 
been absent about six months. 

In 1843, he was appointed Superintendent of Public In- 
struction for the State of Kentucky. He filled this position, 
with honor to himself, and usefulness to the cause of education. 
He lectured on education in all the counties in the state, except 
three or four. But what seemed to give him most satisfaction 
was, that he felt assured he had served the cause of Christ, dur- 
ing this term of office, as successfully as during any similar per- 
iod of his life. On one occasion, he lectured on education a 
number of days in succession, and preached every night, at the 
Forks of Dix River. An extensive Revival occurred, and sev^- 
enty-two souls were baptized. He labored in a similar manner 
at Covington, where about a hundred and fifty were baptized. 
He endeavored to use his social powers for the honor of Christ. 
The following incident will hardly fail to remind the reader of 
some occurrences in the life of the distinguished John Gano. 
"On one occasion, while riding through Casey county, " said 
Mr. Dillard, "I was overtaken by three rough looking fellows, 
one of whom offered to bet five dollars that he could beat me on 
a quarter race. I objected, that the sum was too small, and the 

Ryland Thompson Dillard. 145 

road too rough. Presently we all came to the bank of Green 
river. Here we stopped. One of the men said : 'This is the 
road to run the race on.' 'Well,' said I, 'if you will agree to 
my proposition, I will run a race with you. These men are 
strangers to me. They may be honest, and they maybe rascals. 
I do not like the judges, the track, nor the distance. But if you 
will run over the course of time, for a crown of Righteousness, 
and let Jesus Christ be the judge — go !' " 

About 1859, Mr. Dillard was attacked with a cancer on his 
face, which compelled him to relinquish his pastoral charges. 
After some months he recovered sufficiently to engage in his 
holy calling, and again took charge of East Hickman and two 
other churches. In 1868, his health became feeble, and he 
resigned all his pastoral charges. He, however, continued to 
go among the churches, and preach as often as his failing 
strength would permit. During this period, he often remarked 
that he had his trunk already packed for his last jouj^ney. 
When asked what he had in his trunk, he would reply: "Noth- 
ing but the grace of God. " The cancerous affection in his face 
continued to become more and more aggravated, till it exhaust- 
ed his physical powers. He frequently expressed his will- 
ingness, and even his anxiety, to depart. A few hours before 
his departure, he expressed his reliance on Christ. On the 26th 
of December, 1878, he passed quietly away to the home of the 

Mr. Dillard, whose wife went home some years before him, 
raised five daughters and three sons, all of whom became Bap- 
tists. His oldest son, William, commenced preaching, but had 
to desist on account of failing health. Three of his daughters 
married Baptist preachers. The oldest married W. M. Pratt, 
the second, D. O. Yeiser, and the third, George Hunt.* 

The Baptists of Kentucky have had few ministers of more 
value to the Denomination and the cause of Christ, than Ryland 
T. Dillard. He was a man of good intellectual and social cul- 
ture, was dignified and gentlemanly in his bearing, frank and 
open in conversation, and possessed the capacity to make the 
humblest feel easy in his company. His social popularity was 

*"Most of the facts in the foregoing sketch were taken from Mr. Dillards 
lips, by the author, at his home, Julj' 7, 1869. 

146 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

evinced in the fact that he married 845 couples. As a speaker, 
he was chaste, forcible, and eloquent. In his prime, he was 
one of the first orators in the Kentucky pulpit. 

He was a farmer and a good business man, and accumula- 
ted a comfortable property. He used his business talent for 
the cause of Christ as he did any other grace which God had 
afforded him, and was among the foremost in all the enterpris- 
es of the Denomination. Both as a pastor and an evangelist, 
he was eminently successful. He labored in many great revi- 
vals, besides those in his own immediate charges. During his 
ministry, he baptized about 2,500 with his own hands. The 
two churches to which he ministered so long, and faithfully, 
grew to be large, strong bodies. At one time they contained 
nearly a thousand members, and are now among the leading 
churches of Elkhorn Association. 

Hanging Fork of Dix River [now New Providence] 
church was most probably gathered by William Marshall. It 
was constituted of something less than twenty members, on a 
small stream from which it derived its name, in 1787. It was 
located in Lincoln County. Among its early members were 
William Marshall, Maurice Hansberry and William Gaines. It 
united with Elkhorn Association the same year in which it was 
constituted, and, in the following May, reported an aggregate 
membership of twenty. It was a prosperous little church, un- 
der the pastoral care of Mr. Marshall, till 1791, when it 
reached a membership of sixty-five. During that year a 
church of thirteen members was constituted out of its member* 
ship, in Mercer county. This new church was first called Cove 
Spring, but afterwards took the name of Stony Point, and has 
long been dissolved. Hanging Fork church remained a mem- 
ber of Elkhorn Association till the general union, after which 
it united with South Kentucky, and on the division of that body 
it fell in with South District Association, of which it is still a 
member. About the year 1832, it moved its location to a 
point about three miles east of Danville, in Boyle county, and 
took the name of New Providence. Among the preachers 
raised up in this church are John L. Smith, Strother Cook, 
James P. Kincaid and J. M. Bruce. In 1848, it reported a 
membership of 236. In^i877, it reported only 73. 

William Marshall its first pastor, probably continued to 

Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists. 147 

preach to it about ten years, when he moved to Shelby county 
where he raised up Fox Run church. 

Joel Noel appears to have been the second pastor. Of 
this good old preacher, little is known. Some of the old 
people remember him as a quiet, dignified old preacher of small 
gifts and an excellent christian character. Among the early 
settlers of Lincoln county, he had been very useful in helping 
to build up the young churches. He died at his home, in what 
is now Boyle county, in the fall of 18 15. His youngest son 
was a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher of fair abilities. 

The Separate Baptists had now gathered eleven churches, 
and beginning to recognize the need of some bond of union, re- 
solved to form an Association. Accordingly, messengers from 
these churches met at Tates Creek meeting house in Madison 
county, on the first Friday in October, 1787, and proceeded to 
constitute a fraternity, to which they gave the name of South 
Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists. Of the eleven 
churches of which the confederacy was constituted, only the fol- 
lowing names are certainly known : 

Boones Creek. Joseph Craig, Minister. 
Head of Boones Creek. 
Howards Creek. Robert Elkin. 
Forks of Dix Rivet. James Smith. 
Gilberts Creek. Joseph Bledsoe. 
Rush Branch. John Bailey. 
Tates Creek. Andrew Tribble. 
Lick Creek. James Rogers. 
Pottengers Creek. Benjamin Lynn. 

It appears most probable that the other two churches 

Head of Salt River, and 
South Fork of No-Lynn. James Skaggs. 
The book of records has been preserved, and is now in the 
possession of Elder William Rupard of Clark county. But it 
was so awkwardly kept, that only fragmentary items of the 
proceedings of the Association can be ascertained from its 
pages. The record states that the Association "was constituted 
on the Bible." No written constitution, confession of faith, 
abstract of principles, or even rules of decorum were adopted, 
at this, or any subsequent period. The organization does not 

148 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

appear to have been considered complete till the following May 
for it is stated in the records of the annual meeting of the body, 
in 1 79 1, that, "The Association agrees to abide by the plan 
upon which the churches of our union were constituted [an as- 
sociation,] in October, 1787, and May, 1788." 

Tlie churches of this fraternity were intermingled with 
those of both Elkhorn and Salem Associations. Some of its 
preachers adopted very loose doctrinal views, and their vague 
teachings gave rise to frequent altercations between them and 
the ministers of the Regular Associations. Asa consequence, 
a number of the churches were divided on the different subjects 
of controversy. Various attempts were made to unite the con- 
tending associations ; but, for a period of about thirteen years, 
these efforts all failed, and each successive failure made the 
breach wider, and the altercations more bitter. This unpleasant 
state of affairs continued till I801, when the great revival of 
that period so softened the hearts of God's people, that they 
found it easy to bury all their differences, and form a union of 
all the Baptists in the State. A fuller account of this happy 
transaction will be given in its appropriate place. 



At the beginning of the year 1788, there were two Regular 
Associations and one Separate ; sixteen Regular and eleven 
Separate churches ; twenty-five Regular and ten Separate ordained 
preachers, and several licensed preachers of both orders. During 
this year, three Regular and three Separate churches were formed. 
Like those which had been gathered before, some of these were 
permanent and valuable churches, and others of them soon 

Forks of Elkhorn church was gathered by that famous 
old pioneer, William Hickman. The following account of its 
origin, written by Hickman, shows the manner in which our 
fathers followed the settlers to the frontiers, and erected the 
standard of the cross among them. It must not be forgotten 
that they were still exposed to the fury of the blood-thirsty sav- 
ages, who constantly prowled around the settlements and em- 
braced every opportunity to destroy the new occupants of their 
favorite hunting ground. There were already eight little churches 
in Fayette, one in Bourbon, one in Clark, and one in Woodford, 
all under the protection of the forts, before there was any settle- 
ment at the Forks of Elkhorn, in what is now Franklin county. 

During the year 1787, a precious revival was prevailing in 
most of the settlements in Fayette and the surrounding counties. 
Mr. Hickman gathered Marble Creek church, and, for a time, 
supplied it with stated preaching. The revival influence was fol- 
lowing the settlers, as they advanced into the wilderness to form 
new homes, and contend with new trials and dangers. Of this 
period. Elder William Hickman writes as follows : 

' ' About that time, the Forks of Elkhorn began to be settled. 
Mr. Nathaniel Sanders, old brother John Major, brother Daniel 
James, old William Hayden, old Mr. Lindsay and a few others 


150 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

had moved down. As there was a prospect of a large settle- 
ment, Mr. Sanders named to his neighbor, Major, that it would 
be right to get some minister to come down and live among 
them. This pleased Major, he being an old Baptist. They con- 
sulted as to whom they should get. Mr. Sanders, who had a 
slight acquaintance with me, mentioned my name. This seemed 
strange, as he was a very thoughtless man about his soul. How- 
ever, they agreed between themselves to make me a present of a 
hundred acres of land. This was unknown to me at the time. 
On a very cold night, brother Major, came to my cabin about 
twenty miles from his residence. When he came in, upon being 
asked to sit down, he said : ' No, like Abraham's servant, I will 
not sit down till I have told my errand.' He then told me what 
had brought him to see me, and gave me till the next morning to 
return him an answer. We passed a night of prayer. It was a 
night of* deep thought with me for I wished to do right. I was 
halting between two opinions, and when I reflected that the Forks 
of Elkhorn was exposed to the savages, there being no settle- 
ment between there and the Indian towns, I thought it would 
frighten my wife and children. However, I consulted them about 
what I should do. They being willing to go, in the morning I 
answiered brother Major thus : ' I have an appointment at Marble 
Creek. I will name the matter to the brethren there. If they 
will give me up, I will write to you or come and see you, and we 
will decide upon it.' I went to Marble Creek, and stated to the 
brethren the circumstance. They were for awhile very unwilling 
to let me off. But at length they said, if it was my wish, and 
for my advantage, they would submit. I then felt free and went 
down instead of writing. I first went to brother Major's, and 
from' there to Mr. Sanders. I was astonished to find that his 
wife was an old professor of religion. Mr. Sanders walked with 
me -to the very spring I now live at, on his own land, and showed 
me where I was to settle. I said to him: 'Sir, you don't care 
about religion; I want to know why you wish me to come.' His 
reply was : ' If it never is any advantage to me, it may be to my 
family. ' It started tears from my eyes, not knowing what Pro- 
vidence had in view. I, however, concluded to move as soon as 
possible, and my son, William, being married, came down and 
built a cabin, between Christmas and New Year, 1787. Between 
this and my moving I visited my old church (South Elkhorn), 

Forks of Elkhorn Church. 1 5 1 

Marble Creek and other churches, and I do hope my labors were 
not in vain. On the night of the 17th of January, we arrived at 
my son William's cabin. I had sent down an appointment to 
preach on Sunday at brother Major's. Almost the whole of the 
inhabitants came out. I suppose there were about thirty whites, 
besides a few blacks. I hope I was looking to the Lord. I took 
this subject: ' Let me die the death of the righteous and let my 
last end be like his. ' It was a blessed day. I think four or five 
experiences came from that day's labor, and among the rest, Mr. 
Sanders. The sword of the spirit pierced him to the heart. For 
weeks he could find no rest. But at length he found peace in the 
Lord. I was by when he met with his deliverance. We held 
meetings day and night. About this time there was a great fall 
of snow, and the balance of February and all of March was very 
cold, but did not hinder our meetings. In the course of ten 
months, twenty or thirty obtained hope in the Lord. Among 
them were some of old sister Cook's family and brother Major's 
children, and several of their blacks. Scarcely any weather 
stopped us, and we thought but little about the Indians. When 
April came it brought a fine spring, and we began to talk of be- 
coming an organized church. Several brethren moved down 
that spring. Brother [John] Taylor hearing of the work came 
down from Clear Creek to preach to us, and help us on. As 
well as my recollection serves me, there was a number baptized 
before the constitution of the church, for brother Lewis Craig 
was with us, at times. We sent for helps from Clear Creek. 
South Elkhorn, and I think Marble Creek. We got together, 
and after due examination were constituted a church of Christ. 
This took place the second Saturday in June, 1788. They were 
pleased to call me, to go in and out before them. The dear man 
I so much dreaded (Mr. Sanders) I baptized, and the church chose 
him as one of her deacons. I think, in the course of a year, I 
must have baptized forty or fifty. I baptized nine of old sister 
Cook's children, and among them the well known Abraham, now 
the minister of Indian Fork in Shelby county. The same year I 
baptized Philemon Thomas and his brother, Richard, the latter 
a minister of the gospel, the former a statesman." 

Forks of Elkhorn church had a regular prosperous course 
for many years. Eight years after its constitution it contained 
123 members. During "the great revival" 216 souls were 

I 5 2 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

baptized for its membership in one year (1801). It united with 
Elkhorn Association, in 1788, and remained a member of that 
body till about 1821, when it united with Franklin Association, 
of which it has remained a prominent member to the present 

William Hickman, the founder and first pastor of Forks of 
Elkhorn church, was among the most active, courageous and use- 
ful of that noble band of pioneer preachers that brought the Gos- 
pel of Jesus Christ to the great Valley of the Mississippi. He 
was, in the true sense of the term, a servant of Jesus Christ. He 
made preaching the gospel the business of his life. He consci- 
entiously avoided that worldly speculation which involved a num- 
ber of our early preachers in much trouble, and greatly marred 
their usefulness. Refusing to entangle himself with the affairs of 
this world, he looked unto the Lord, and steadily pursued his 
holy calling, from the time God called him into the ministry, until 
he finished his course with joy, at a ripe old age. He served the 
Lord with diligence and zeal, in his youth, and realized the ful- 
fillment of the promise made to the righteous : ' ' They shall bring 
forth fruit in their old age." 

William Hickman was the son of Thomas Hickman. His 
mother's maiden name was Sarah Sanderson. He was born in 
King and Queen county, Va., February 4, 1747. His parents 
died young, leaving him and one sister, their only surviving 
children, to the care of their grandmother. He gives the follow- 
lowing account of his youth and early manhood : 

' ' My sister and myself were taken by a loving old grand- 
mother, who did her best for us. She tried to impress our minds 
with a solemn sense of eternal happiness and the torment of hell. 
These things bore heavily on my mind, and more so on the death 
of our parents. Thinking of my father, and fearing he was mis- 
erable, deprived me of hours of sleep. I hoped my mother was 
in glory. With these thoughts, I determined not to be wicked, 
and especially to keep from evil words. My opportunity for 
learning was very poor, having little time to go to school. I 
could read but little, and barely write. My sister also had very 
littl-e opportunity to learn, for we were two little orphans. 

"At about fourteen years of age I was put to a trade. The 
family I had lived with since the death of my parents were or- 
derly, but without any real knowledge of true godliness. They 

William Hickman. 153 

all depended upon their works to save their souls. None of us 
knew any better in those days. I had not lived long at my new 
habitation before I fell in with the evil habits of the family, for 
master, mistress, children, apprentices and negroes were all alike 
in their wickedness. I left off saying prayers, and learned to 
curse and swear; for sinning will make us leave off prayer, and 
real prayer will make us leave off sinning. I lived at this place 
seven years. I went often to church to hear the parson preach, 
when he was sober enough to go through his discourse. To- 
wards the last of the seven years I heard of a people called Bap- 
tists, though at a great distance. I was told that they would take 
the people and dip them all over in the water. I was sure they 
were the false prophets. I hoped I never should see one of them, 
nor did I for several years after that. 

" In the ninth year of my apprenticeship I married my mas- 
ter's daughter. Both of us were poor, careless mortals about our 
souls. My wife was fond of mirth and dancing. In the year 
1770 the Lord sent these Newlights* near where we then lived, 
in Buckingham county, Virginia. Curiosity led me to go some 
distance to hear these babblers. The two precious men were 
John Waller and James Childs. When I got to the meeting the 
people were relating their experiences. There was such a multi- 
tude of people that I could not see the preachers till they were 
done. At last they broke up. The two preachers sat together. 
I thought they looked like angels. Both of them preached, and 
God's power attended the word. Numbers fell, some were con- 
vulsed and others were crying out for mercy. The day's worship 
ended. The next day they were to dip, as they called it in those 
days. I went home, heavy hearted, knowing myself to be in a 
wretched'state. I informed my wife what I had seen and heard. 
She was much disgusted, fearing I would be dipped. She begged 
me not to go again ; but I told her I must see them dipped. I went, 
and an awful day it was to me. One of the ministers preached be- 
fore baptism. Then they moved on to the water, near a quarter 
of a mile. The people moved in solemn order, singing : 
* Lord, what a wretched land is this 
That yields us no supply.' 

Though it was a strange thing in that part of the world, I 
think the people behaved orderly. A great many tears dropped 

^Baptists were so-called then. 

154 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

at the water, and not a few from my eyes. The first man 
brother Waller led in had been a dancing master, to whom brother 
Waller said he had given a gold piece to teach him to dance. I 
think eleven were baptized that day." 

' ' In the fall of the next year I moved to Cumberland coun- 
ty. There I shook off the awful feeling I have named above, 
yoked in with a gang of ruffians and took to dissipation, but with 
a guilty conscience. The Lord sent his servants in that part, and 
pretty soon a number of our dear neighbors were converted to 
God, and among the rest, my wife." * 

On the conversion of his wife, Mr. Hickman's remorse of 
conscience greatly increased. His wife offered herself to the 
church, and was approved for baptism, when he was absent. 
This greatly irritated him. He kept her from being baptized 
several months. He persuaded her to attend the Episcopal 
church, and strove to convince her of the validity of infant bap- 
tism. For this purpose, he studied the New Testament closely. 
This investigation led him to the conclusion that infant baptism 
was not taught in the Bible. He finally consented to his wife's 
being baptized. Under the preaching of David Tinsley — that 
eminent and faithful witness for Jesus, and four times a prisoner of 
the Lord, in Virginia jails — Mr. Hickman became deeply over- 
whelmed with a sense of guilt and condemnation. He closes a 
relation of his experience as follows : 

' ' I saw sin enough in my best performances to sink me to 
hell. When I heard the truth preached, it all condemned me. 
I often wished that I had never been born, or that I had been a 
brute that had no soul to stand before the holy God. For 
months I tried to pray, but thought I grew worse and worse, till 
all hopes of happiness were almost gone. 

"One cold and gloomy afternoon, the 2ist of February, 
1773, I went over a hill to try to pray. When I got to the place, 
I put myself in every position of prayer. I must have been an 
hour in that dismal condition. It was so cold that I returned to 
the house and sat awhile before the fire. I thought hell was my 
portion. About the setting of daylight I got up and walked out 
about fifty yards. All at once the heavy burden seemed to fall 
off I felt the love of God flow into my poor soul. I had sweet 

^'Hickman's Life and Travels, pp. 1-3 — Slightly Revised. 


William Hickman. 155 

supping at the throne of grace. My sins were pardoned through 
the atoning blood of the blessed Savior. I heard no voice, and 
no particular Scripture was applied. I continued there some- 
time, and then went back to the house. I made no ado for fear 
of losing the sweet exercise. That was one of the happiest 
nights I ever experienced. The next morning when I rose and 
looked out, I thought everything praised God, even the trees, 
grass and brutes. In the month of April, I was baptized by 
that worthy servant of God, Reuben Ford, who had baptized 
my wife the fall before. We both joined the church after I was 

The young converts composing this church, having no 
preacher near them, kept up meetings themselves, as was the 
custom of the early Baptists of Virginia. Among those who 
took an active part in the public exercises were William Hick- 
man, George Smith, George Stokes Smith, John Dupuy, James 
Dupuy, Edward Maxey and Jeremiah Hatcher. All of these be- 
came useful preachers, and the first five were among the early 
preachers of Kentucky. 

In 1776 Mr. Hickman came with a small company to Ken- 
tucky. Some account of this visit has been given in the first 
chapter of this work. 

Several incidents which occurred under Mr. Hickman's 
ministry during the eight years that he preached in Virginia, 
after his first visit to Kentucky, will serve not only to exhibit 
the zeal of the preacher, but will also show something of the 
spirit of the times in which he lived. 

Near where Mr. Hickman lived was the boundary line of an 
Episcopal parish, the minister of which was a Mr. McRoberts. 
The Virginia Legislature passed an act in 1776, by which the 
parish ministers were deprived of their salaries, which they had 
hitherto drawn from the public treasury. Most of them aban- 
doned their parishes as soon as their salaries were cut off. Par- 
son McRoberts had left his parish. The Methodists had seized 
upon the opportunity to gather a large society in the vacant 
parish. Congress proclaimed a general fast to be held on the 
23d of April, 1777. M^- Hickman preached the fast day ser- 
mon in his neighborhood. An immense crowd of people at-. 

*Life and travels, pp. 5-6 ; slightly revised. 

156 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

tended. The Spirit of the Lord was present, and a number of 
people were deeply convicted of sin. Among these was a mid- 
dle-aged man named John Goode. He was so deeply wrought 
upon that he thought he was going to die, and applied to Col. 
Haskins to write his will. He continued some days in great 
agony. For three days and nights he did not eat, drink or 
sleep. When he obtained relief he went to see Mr. Hickman, 
and related to him his experience. He concluded by saying: 
" You need not mention baptism to me. Blessed be God, I 
am baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire, and I need nothing 
more." Mr. Hickman told him to search the Scriptures and 
they would teach him his duty. ' ' I had an appointment the 
next Sunday week," says Mr. Hickman, "at Muse's school- 
house. I asked Mr. Goode if he would go to meeting with me, 
if I would come by and take breakfast with him. He said he 
would with pleasure. When I went he was sitting on his porch 
with the Bible in his hand. He commenced conversation by 
saying : ' You need not say anything about baptism; my Holy 
Ghost and fiic baptism will do for me.'" Mr. Hickman ad- 
vised him, as before, to search the Scriptures. "When the 
meeting was dismissed that day," says Mr. Hickman, "I 
missed Mr. Goode till the people were nearly all gone. At 
last he came out of the woods. I asked him where he had been 
all that time. He told me that Mr. Branch, one of his neigh- 
bors, a church warden, had taken him out to give him some 
good advice, and that the advice was to take care of the Bap- 
tists, for they preached damnable doctrines, and that they will 
not rest till they dip you. Mr. Goode replied that Mr. Hick- 
man had not persuaded him, he only advised him to read the 
Scriptures. 'Ah,' said Mr. Branch, 'that is their cunning.' '' 

At another time Mr. Hickman preached at the funeral of 
an old lady. After the service a friend of the deceased made 
him a present of the value of five dollars. It was soon reported 
that he charged five pounds for preaching a funeral sermon. 
This was used to prejudice the people against the Baptists. Mr. 
Hickman soon afterwards preached another funeral discourse 
at the parish grave-yard, but was compelled to go off the church 
lot, or, as it was called, "the church acre." Mr. Hickman re- 
marks: "The Baptists in those days were much despised." 
This was especially the case in Chesterfield county. ' 'A little 


William Hickman. 157 

before this date, about eight or nine ministers were imprisoned 
at different times. But to stop the work of the Lord was not 
in the power of the devil. The word was preached through 
iron grates, and God blessed it to the conversion of hundreds." 
It will be remembered that, ' 'in Chesterfield jail seven preachers 
were confined for preaching, viz: William Webber, Joseph An- 
thony, Augustine Eastin, John Weatherford, John Tanner, 
Jeremiah Walker and David Tinsley. Some were whipped by 
individuals, and several were fined." * "They kept up their 
persecutions," says Semple, "after other counties had laid it 
aside." Mr. Hickman, though not imprisoned, came in for his 
share of rude persecution. 

The following affecting circumstances show something of 
the bitter feeling that was entertained against the Baptists, only 
a hundred years ago. A revival was in progress in Skinquarter 
church. Many people were interested about their souls. 
Among these were the wife, son and daughter of an old man 
who was a fierce opposer of the Baptists. The young lady was 
the first to find peace in the Savior. Despite the father's op- 
position. "Nothing would do but she must follow the foot- 
steps of her dear Master. After she was baptized," continues 
Mr. Hickman, "She never dared to put her foot in her father's 
house. He cursed and swore and wished her in hell. But 
she had friends and homes enough. One day her poor old 
mother came to my house and asked rne what I would do if 
she told me an experience that satisfied me, and demanded 
baptism. I told her I should have to baptize her. She said : T 
expect to put you to the test, in a short time. But my hus- 
band must not know it. If he does, I know he will kill me.' 
I told her I did not think so. She replied : T know him bet- 
ter than you do. ' A short time after this, the old man went 
from home, and the old lady came to my house with her bun- 
dle under her arm. The expelled daughter was at my house at 
that time. The old lady related her experience. It was satis- 
factory. My wife, the old lady and myself went alone to the 
water. Her daughter would not go, for fear she would be in- 
terrogated on the subject. The old lady came up out of the 
water praising and glorifying God. I informed the church what 

•'His. Va. Baptists, p. 207. 

158 History of Kciituckv Baptists. 

I had done, and they were pleased with it. I directed the dea 
cons to convey the elements to her when administering the sup- 
per, she being in some bye-corner covered with a large hand- 
kerchief. The old man did not find it out for four years. The 
worst of his rage was then over. The son, a young man grown, 
had been converted. But he lived with his father, and was 
afraid to be baptized. One night at a meeting the members 
became very lively under religious exercises. Abram — for that 
was his name — came forward and related his experience. Like 
Paul, I took him the same hour of the night and baptized him. 
I saw his mother next morning. She said to me : 'Brother 
Hickman, did you baptize Abram last night ?' 'Why do you 
ask that ? ' said I, for I was sure none could have told her. 
'Why, I dreamed so: I thought I stood by and saw it.' I told 
her I had, and she appeared much rejoiced. Some one told 
Abram's father of his baptism on Monday morning. The old 
man drew his cane on him and ordered him off, but did not 
strike him."* 

John Goode, who was at first so well satisfied with his Holy 
Ghost and fire baptism, after studying the Scriptures sometime, 
demanded zvatc}^ baptism, and ultimately succeeded Mr. Hick- 
man as pastor of Skinquarter church. 

Mr. Hickman relates the following incident, which occurred 
under his ministry, while he was pastor of Tomahawk church. 
There was a man living near the meeting place, "who was 
thought to be a christian," says Mr. Hickman, "but had not 
joined society. I said to him one evening going from meeting: 
' Mr. Flournoy, when I come again, I intend to have meeting at 
your house, on Saturday night, hear your experience and baptize 
you the next day.' He asked me if I was in earnest. I told 
him I was. The same week there was preaching at the meeting- 
house by a strange minister. The preacher and myself went to 
Mr. Flournoy's to dinner. After dinner he said to me that he 
could not wait till next meeting to be baptized. I told him he 
had waited seven years, and asked him if he could not wait an- 
other month. I told him I should do as I had promised. The 
next morning he came to my meeting, ten miles off, bringing his 
family and friends, and also his clothes to be baptized in. I told 

"'Life and Travels, pp. 15-16; revised. 

William Hichnaii. 159 

him I should do as I had first told him. The next monthly meeting-, 
I baptized him, according to my first arrangement. When I 
came to Kentucky I left him the minister of Tomahawk church." 

Another circumstance will illustrate the strictness of dis- 
cipline among Baptists, at that period. A young lady, the 
daughter of Colonel Haskins, was arraigned before the church at 
Skinquarter, ' ' for wearing stays, they being fashionable at that 
time. She was truly a meek and pious young lamb," continues 
Mr. Hickman. " I plead her cause and saved her. She after- 
wards became the wife of Edward Trabue, and died in Ken- 

On the 1 6th day of August, 1784, Mr. Hickman started to 
move to Kentucky. He arrived at George Stokes Smith's, in 
what is now Garrard county, on the 9th day of November. "The 
next day," says he, "which was Sunday, there was meeting at 
brother Smith's, and unprepared as I was, I had to try to preach, 
though there were three other preachers present. I spoke from 
the fourth psalm : ' The iJprd hath set apart him that is godly 
for himself " This was his second attempt to preach in Ken- 
tucky. It was now more than eight years since he began his 
ministry at the head of the spring at Harrodstown. Thomas 
Tinsley was present when he made his first effort. Speaking of 
the second, he says : ' ' Old brother William Marshall was there, 
and invited me to go where he lived, at a place called the Knobs. 
He appeared to set some store by me, but thought I was tinc- 
tured with Arminianism. I thought he was strenuous on eternal 
justification. There was a church at Gilbert's creek, but I had 
no inclination to join so soon after I moved there. Brother 
John Taylor came from the north side of Kentucky river, and 
preached at brother Robertson's. William Bledsoe was there. 
Brother Taylor's text was : ' Christ is all in all.' I fed on the 
food. It was like the good old Virginia doctrine." Thus, in a 
few days, Mr. Hickman was brought in contact with nearly all 
the preachers in " Upper Kentucky." There were at that time, 
only two Regular and two Separate Baptist churches in that part 
of the State; and the first revival did not occur till the following 

The 5 th of the following April, Mr. Hickman moved to the 
north side of Kentucky river, and settled near Lexington. The 
fourth Saturday in the same month, he and his wife handed in 

i6o History of Kentucky Baptists. 

their letters, and were received into the fellowship of South 
Elkhorn church. Here he and Lewis Craig became yoke-fellows 
in the ministry, and John Taylor was near by. Than these, a 
nobler trio of gospel ministers has seldom blessed any one com- 
munity on our planet. They, with a few others perhaps equally 
pious, but less active and zealous, raised up, in a few years, 
churches enough to form a large and influential association, and 
their names were familiarly known over this continent, and in 

Mr. Hickman's labors at Boones Creek, Marble Creek, 
Forks of Elkhorn and Brashears Creek, in Shelby county, have 
already been spoken of. He became pastor of Forks of Elk- 
horn, at its constitution, and sustained that relation till it was 
severed by death. He supplied Brashears Creek near the present 
town of Shelbyville, about a year, when he had to be attended 
by a band of soldiers between Frankfort and that point, to guard 
him against the hostile Indians. He then induced Joshua Morris 
to move to Brashears creek, and take charge of the little 
church. In 1791, he paid a short visit to his old churches in 
Virginia. On his return to Kentucky, he commenced preaching 
in Mr. Ficklin's barn, on McConnells Run, in Scott county. 
Here he raised up a church, at first called McConnells Run, but 
now known as Stamping Ground. To this church he ministered 
about fourteen years. A few brief quotations from his Life and 
Travels will give, in a narrow compass, some idea of his abun- 
dant labors and great success in Kentucky. Speaking of the great 
revival of 1800—3, ^^^ says : "I suppose I baptized more than five 
hundred in the course of two years, though in different places. 
Our church (Forks of Elkhorn) increased to three or four hun- 
dred in number. About this time the churches began to branch 
off. We dismissed members to constitute Glen's Creek, South 
Benson, North Fork and Mouth of Elkhorn (Zion) churches. I 
attended all those young churches at that time, they being desti- 
tute of ministers, and baptized a number of members in each, 
till they were supplied. In those days I went down and visited 
my friends on Eagle creek, and baptized a number there. Soon 
after that a large and respectable church arose there. Brother 
John Scott moved among them, and has long been their pastor. " 
' ' I am now in my eighty-first year, and have a greater charge 
on me than ever I had. I am called upon to attend three other 

William Hickman. i6l 

churches, besides our owrii This takes up all my time. But I 
want to spend my latter moments to God's glory. I enjoy com- 
mon health through the goodness of God." 

' ' I have, after my poor manner, to serve Mt. Pleasant, 
North Fork and Zion churches. Our regular meetings at the 
Forks of Elkhorn, have been on the second Saturday and Sun- 
day in each month for nearly forty years. This church I hope 
to serve till I am laid in the dust, for they have ever manifested 
their love and esteem to me. They lie near my heart, I wish to 
live and die with them ; and I hope to spend a blessed eternity 
with them where parting is no more." 

Some two years after he wrote the paragraphs just quoted, 
this venerable servant of God, still in ordinary health visited 
south Benson church, of which his son William was pastor. 
After preaching, and then eating a hearty dinner, he complained 
of feeling uncomfortable. He started to go home, accompanied 
by his son. When he reached Frankfort he was unable to pro- 
ceed further. He stopped at the house of a friend and re- 
quested a pallet to be made on the floor. On this he lay down 
to rest. As he lay there, talking of his trust in Christ, on a 
mild evening in the fall of 1830, he grew weaker and weaker, 
until his voice was silenced. A few moments afterwards he 
passed away to the eternal home. So ended a long life of ac- 
tive labor and prominent usefulness in the cause of Christ. Of 
this remarkable man of God, John Taylor wrote in the follow- 
ing quaint style, while Mr. Hickman was living: 

' 'This man had a great range in Kentucky, for here he has 
been a faithful laborer nearly forty years. He is truly a '76 
man, for in 'jG he paid a visit to Kentucky, and here, the same 
year, he first began to preach. In early times, and in the face 
of danger, he settled where he now lives, for a number of years, 
at the risk of his life, from Indian fury. He preached to the 
people in Shelby county, and other frontier settlements. So 
that he is one of the hardy, fearless sons of 'jG. For upwards 
of thirty years he has served the church at the Forks of Elk- 
horn, in which congregation he has, perhaps, baptized more than 
five hundred people. He has statedly served a number of other 
churches. Perhaps no man in Kentucky has baptized so many 
people as this venerable man. Though now about seventy-six 
years old, he walks and stands as erect as a palm tree, being at 

1 62 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

least six feet high, rather of a lean texture, his whole deport- 
ment solemn and grave, and like Caleb, the servant of the Lord 
of old, at four score years of age, was as capable of going to war 
as when young. This '']6 veteran can yet perform a good part in 
the Gospel Vineyard. His preaching is in a plain, solemn style, 
and the sound of it like thunder in the distance ; but when in his 
best mood his sound is like thunder at home, and operates with 
prodigious force on the conscience of his hearers."* 

Mr. Hickman was twice married and raised many children. 
His oldest son, William, was long pastor of South Benson 
church. Captain Paschal Hickman who fell in the battle of 
River Rasin, and in whose honor Hickman county was named, 
was another of his sons. The venerable Elder Paschal Todd, 
of Owen county, is a grandson. 

Hustons Creek church was a small body of Separate 
Baptists, gathered in Bourbon county in 1788, by Moses Bled- 
soe. It contained, in 179O, fifty-six members. After this its 
name disappeared from the records. 

Moses Bledsoe was a preacher of considerable prominence 
among the pioneers of Kentucky. But little is now known of 
his life and labors. He was most probably a son of Elder 
Joseph Bledsoe, the founder and first pastor of Gilberts Creek 
church of Separate Baptists, in Garrard county, and brother of 
Elder William Bledsoe and the brilliant but erratic. Judge Jesse 

Moses Bledsoe was a native of Virginia. He came to Ken- 
tucky at a very early period, and was active among the Sepa- 
rate Baptists, in raising up the early churches of that order. He 
was pastor of Hustons Creek, Bethel and Lulbegrud churches, 
and was one of the committee which arranged the "terms of 
general union." He had the reputation of being a good 

Rolling Fork church was located in the southern part of 
Nelson county. It was constituted in 1788, and united with 
Salem Association the same year. It reported to the Associa- 
tion seventeen members. It was probably gathered by Joshua 
Carman, an enthusiastic Emancipationist. This church sent 
with its letter to the association, the year after it obtained ad- 

*His. Ten Ch's., pp. 48-49. 

Joshua Carman. 163 

mission into that body, the following query: "Is it lawful in 
the sight of God for a member of Christ's church to keep his 
fellow-creatures in perpetual slavery?" "The association 
judge[d] it improper to enter into so important and critical a 
matter at present." This answer was unsatisfactory. The 
church continued to agitate the subject of slavery till, in 1796, 
it withdrew from the Association. It returned to the Association 
in 1802, but was disturbed by a factious spirit, and a disorderly 
preacher of the name of William Downs, and continued to wither 
till 1825, when it dissolved. ^^ 

Joshua Carman, who appears to have been the founder and 
first pastor of Rolling Fork, was probably a native of Western 
Pennsylvania. He was among the early settlers of Nelson 
county, Kentucky. For a number of years he was an active 
minister in the bounds of Salem Association, and was several 
times appointed to preach the introductory sermon before that 
body. He was regarded a man of good ability, and was much 
beloved by the brethren. But, becoming fanatical on the sub- 
ect of slavery, he induced Rolling Fork church to withdraw 
from the Association, in 1796, and declare non-fellowship with 
all slave-holders. He attempted to draw off Cedar Creek church, 
of which, according to tradition, he was pastor at that time. 
But, failing in this attempt, he collected the disaffected members 
from that church, Cox's Creek and Lick Creek, and, with the 
assistance of Josiah Dodge, constituted an Emancipation 
church, about six miles north-west of Bardstown. This church 
soon withered away, and Rolling Fork church returned to Salem 
Association. The exact date of constituting this Emancipation 
church, or the name it bore, is not now known, but it is sup- 
posed to have been the first organization of the kind in Ken- 
tucky. Mr. Carman, finding himselt unable to bring any con- 
siderable number of Baptists to his views, moved to eastern 
Ohio, where it is said he raised up a respectable church, and 
preached to it till the Lord took him away. 

William Downs was the next preacher in Rolling Fork 
church. He possessed extraordinary natural gifts, and was 
one of the most brilliant and fascinating orators in the Kentucky 
pulpit in his day. But he was indolent, slovenly and self-in- 

*Min. Sal. Asso. 

. 1 64 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

dulgent. This rendered him almost useless to society, and per- 
haps worse than useless to the cause of Christ. 

William Downs was a son of Thomas Downs, an early- 
settler in what is now Ohio county, Kentucky. He was prob- 
ably born in a fort where the county seat of Ohio is now located, 
about the year 1782. His father, having moved to Vienna Fort, 
on Green river, where Calhoun is now located, was killed by a 
party of Indians, about the year 1790. He left two sons, Thomas 
and William, both of whom became Baptist preachers — the 
former, a man of great usefulness. William was brought to 
Nelson county, and placed under the care of Mr. Evan Will- 
iams, by whom he was brought up. He received a fair English 
education, for that time, and adopted the profession of school 
teaching. In early life he professed religion, and united with 
Rolling Fork church. He commenced exercising in public soon 
after he was baptized, and gave evidence of such extraordinary 
gifts that the church too hastily had him ordained to the minis- 
try. He had preached but a short time before he was sum- 
moned before the church to answer the charge of being intoxi- 
cated. To avoid the trial he sought membership in a Separate 
Baptist church, and was received. Rolling Fork church, how- 
ever, publicly excluded him, and requested Salem Association 
to advertise him. This was done in the minutes of that body, 
in 1805. 

Mr. Downs, however, continued to preach among the Sepa- 
rate Baptists till he raised up a large church of that order, called 
Little Mount. It was located about three miles north-east of 
Hodgenville, and contained a number of highly respectable citi- 
zens. Mr. Downs was fond of controversy, and engaged in 
several debates. His exceeding familiarity with the Sacred 
Scriptures, his ready wit, keen sarcasm, and brilliant oratory 
attracted the attention and won the admiration of the most in- 
telligent and refined people within the limits of his acquaintance. 
Hon. Benjamin Hardin, one of the leading lawyers and states- 
men of Kentucky, greatly admired his oratory, and embraced 
every opportunity to hear him preach. During an informal dis- 
cussion with a Catholic priest, Mr. Downs' wit and sarcasm so 
irritated the "reverend father" that he struck his troublesome 
adversary in the face with his fist. This afforded Mr. Hardin an 
opportunity to arrange the terms of a public debate between the 

William Downs. 165 

Driest and Mr. Dowhs. Mr. Hardin presented his friend Downs 
,vith a handsome suit of clothes to wear during the debate. The 
Driest opened the debate with an hour's speech. Not knowing 
VIr. Downs' church relationship, he attempted to confound him 
Dy proving conclusively that all the Protestant SQCis had received 
:heir baptism from the Roman Catholic church. Mr. Downs 
idmitted his proposition, but denied being a Protestant. The 
Driest exhibited his disappointment and confusion by saying to 
VIr. Hardin : " You have brought me an Anabaptist to contend 
igainst : had I known this, I would not have debated with him. " 
jreatly to the gratification of his honorable friend, Mr. Downs 
gained a complete victory. 

About the year 1830 Mr. Downs moved to Ohio county, 
md again joined the United Baptists. Here an opportunity 
A^as soon afforded for the display of his controversial powers. 

A Universalist preacher, of the name of Mann, had been 
or some months preaching at Hawesville, in Hancock county, 
Dccasionally. At the close of each discourse he challenged his 
ludience to furnish an orthodox preacher to debate with him. 
Finally a gentleman present accepted the challenge. The terms 
:Df debate were agreed on, and the time appointed for it to com- 
mence. Punctual to the time Mr. Mann, who was a very hand- 
some man, and dressed very elegantly, made his appearance. 
Mr. Downs had worn out the suit of clothes which Mr. Hardin 
had given him, and was now clad extremely shabbily. He had 
Dn a pair of coarse, short, tow-linen pantaloons, an old wool 
hat, with a piece of leather sewed in the crown and a pair of 
coarse cow-skin shoes, without socks. He and Mr. Mann were 
formally introduced. The latter expressed his astonishment 
and disgust by asking the question: "Is this the man you 
have brought here to debate with me?" Mr. Downs replied 
promptly: " Never mind, Mr. Mann, I am only fit to do the 
dirty work of the church." The debate proceeded. The 
Universalist fop, in debate with the old experienced controver- 
sialist, was as a pigmy in the hands of a giant. Mr. Downs 
played with him as a cat plays with a wounded mouse. At the 
close of each argument, presented with irresistible force, he 
quoted from Paul, leaving out the word "every." " Let God 
be true and man (Mann) a liar. " At the close of the debate 

1 66 Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. 

the crest-fallen Universalist beat a hasty retreat, and was never 
afterwards seen in Hawesville. 

In the split among the Baptists of the Green River country, 
on the subject of missions, about the year 1835, Mr. Downs went 
off with the anti-mission faction. After this he had a controversy 
with a Campbellite preacher. But while he always displayed 
splendid abilities in the pulpit, his moral character was so defec- 
tive that he exerted little influence for good. He died in pov- 
erty and obscurity, about the year i860. 

Head of Salt River church was a small body of Separate 
Baptists, constituted in Mercer county, in 1787 or 1788. In 
1790 it reported to South Kentucky Association 57 members. 
After this we hear no more of it ; it either dissolved or changed 
its name. 

Buck Run church was gathered by John and James Du- 
puy. It was constituted October i, 1788, and was located in 
Woodford county. It united with Elkhorn Association the 
same month in which it was constituted, and the following year 
reported 14 baptisms and a total membership of 34. This 
church, like many others at an early period in Kentucky, prob- 
ably had no stated pastor, but was supplied with preaching by 
the ministers who were among its members. In 1793 it attained 
to a membership of 70. After this it was rent by factions, and 
rapidly declined, till 1799, when it dissolved. 

John Dupuy was of French extraction. The history of his 
ancestors is one of thrilling interest. 

In spite of Papal vigilance, the Lutheran Reformation 
spread from Germany over France, till the French Protestants 
numbered hundreds of thousands. The contest between them 
and the Catholics led to the Bartholomew massacre in 1572, in 
which it was supposed thirty thousand Protestants were slain 
within thirty days. This persecution continued till Henry IV 
published a decree, in 1598, granting the Protestants certain 
civil rights. This decree is commonly known as the Edict of 
Nantes. After this the Protestants, who were called Huguenots, 
enjoyed some degree of peace, till Louis XIV again deprived 
them of their civil rights, in 1681, when another fearful persecu- 
tion broke out, and the sufferings of the Huguenots became in- : 
tolerable. Notwithstanding the borders of the Empire were 

John Dnpuy. 167 

guarded by armed soldiers, more than a half million of the 
Protestants escaped to Switzerland, Germany, Holland and Eng- 
land. In 1685 the Edict of Nantes was revoked, and the Protes- 
tants were left wholly at the mercy of the Catholics. Such as 
could get away fled from the Empire, while the remainder were 
forced to recant or perish by martyrdom. Among the former 
was a young man of large estate, of the name of Dupuy. He 
had served fourteen years in the French army, and had been en- 
gaged in as many pitched battles. On retiring from the army he 
was married to Susannah Sevillian, a young countess, and settled 
on his estate. Six months after this the Edict of Nantes was re- 
voked. Dupuy secured a suit of male attire, dressed his wife in 
the garb of a page, and, taking all the gold he had by him, they 
mounted a pair of fleet horses and fled towards Germany. They 
left the doors and windows of their house open, to prevent sus- 
picion. But the wily zealots were soon aware of their flight, and 
pursued them. Coming in sight of the refugees, they fired on 
them, but with no other injury than the mutilating of a small 
Bible,* which the countess carried on her person. As soon as 
the refugees found themselves safe on the territory of Germany, 
they alighted from their horses and worshiped God in solemn 
prayer and a hymn of thanksgiving. After remaining in Ger- 
many about fourteen years, the Dupuys, with many other 
French Huguenots, emigrated to Virginia, about the year 
1700, and settled at Manakin, an old Indian town on James 

Here John Dupuy, a son of Bartholomew Dupuy, and a 
descendant of the bold Huguenot, was born in Powhatan county, 
Virginia, March 17, 1738. He received a good education for 
that time, and began in early life to devote himself much to re- 
ligious exercise. He belonged to the Church of England, and 
possessed a good estate. Being a good reader, and having a 
pious disposition, he began to collect his neighbors, and read to 
them from the church service the sacred scriptures, or printed 
sermons. He was invited to hold meetings at the houses of his 
neighbors. In a short time he had established three weekly ap- 

"-■ This Bible and a short sword, carried at that time by M. Dupuy, are 
said to be still kept in the Dupuy family, fn America. Miss Eliza Dupuy 
has published a historical romance, entitled, "The Short Sword of the Hu- 

1 68 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

pointments at the houses of three poor but pious old widows. 
These people being too poor to furnish candles, he read by the 
light of fires made of pine knots. He gradually fell into 
the habit of exhorting the people, after reading the Scrip- 

Much interest began to be manifested at young Dupuy's 
meetings. Under his warm exhortations the people would groan 
and weep, and give other indications of strong religious feeling. 
At one of these meetings, while Mr. Dupuy was exhorting, and 
the people were exhibiting much tenderness of feeling, a son of 
the widow at whose house the meeting was held, rose up and cried 
out angrily : "John Dupuy, you must stick to the rules of the 
Church of England. You shall not preach here." Mr. Dupuy 
now began to study the Bible, and soon became^convinced of the 
duty of believer's immersion. At this time he had probably 
never heard a Baptist preach. Some time after this, hearing that 
Samuel Harris and Jeremiah Walker had an appointment to 
preach, about forty miles from where he lived, he went to hear 
them. He was so well pleased with their doctrine that he re- 
lated to them his Christian experience, and was baptized, June 
i6, 1771. 

The seeds Mr. Dupuy had sown in his Bible readings 
and exhortations were ripening for the harvest. He induced 
William Webber and Joseph Anthony to visit the neighbor- 
hood. The Lord blessed their labors. A church, called Pow- 
hatan, was constituted the same year. This was the first Bap- 
tist church in Powhatan county. Mr. Dupuy built them a sub- 
stantial meeting-house, a part of the wall of which is still stand- 
ing ; but the building has been greatly enlarged. Soon after this 
church was constituted the famous John Waller and the Craigs 
visited the neighborhood. A great revival ensued, and a large 
number was added to the church. 

David Tinsley was induced to settle among these brethren, 
and became their pastor. The church prospered under his mis- 
istry, till 1774, when he was thrust into Chesterfield jail for 
preaching the gospel. During this year Mr. Dupuy was mar- 
ried to Elizabeth Minter, and was soon after ordained pastor of 
Powhatan church. This position he occupied till he moved to 
the West. This church was a very prosperous one. Previous 
to the year 1827, it had raised up fourteen preachers. Among. 

James Dupuy. 169 

these were John and James Dupuy, George and George 
S. Smith and William Hickman, all of whom settled in 

Ill the fall of 1784 John Dupuy moved to Kentucky, and 
settled in what is now Woodford county. In the following 
spring he went into the constitution of Clear Creek church. 
After remaining about three years a member of this church, he 
and his brother James Dupuy, who had recently moved from 
Virginia, constituted a church, on Buck Run, not far from where 
Griers Creek meeting-house now stands. This church, as stated 
above, was dissolved in 1799. 

In 1801 Mr. Dupuy moved to what is now Oldham county, 
and united with the church on Pattons creek. Here he re- 
mained on his farm till about one year before his death, when 
he moved to Shelbyville. The church on Pattons creek with 
which he had labored about thirty-five years, wrote him a long 
and affectionate letter after he moved to Shelbyville, begging 
him not to move his membership from among them. This he 
consented to, and died a member ot that church, October, 1837, 
in the hundreth year of his age.* 

Mr. Dupuy possessed very moderate preaching gifts. But 
he was a good man, and in his younger days was active and ^ 
useful as an exhorter. He was much beloved for his ardent 
piety and his munificent charity to the poor. 

James Dupuy was a brother of John Dupuy, but nearly 
twenty years younger than he. He was probably converted 
under the preaching of David Tinsley. He commenced exer- 
cising in exhortation in the little night meetings held by William 
Hickman and others, about the year 1773, when he was only a 
youth. There were seven of the young men, none of whom 
were recognized as preachers then, but who were zealous in 
holding meetings in that neighborhood till Skinquarter church 
was raised up and Hickman was ordained its pastor. The seven 
all became preachers, ultimately. 

James Dupuy moved to Woodford county, Kentucky, 
about the year 1788, and united with Clear Creek church. In 

*Many of the facts in this sketch were obtained from Mr . Dupuy 's 

H 12 

170 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

October of that year he went into the constitution of Buck Run 
church. After this body dissolved he moved to Shelby county, 
not far from the year 1800. Here he united with Tick Creek 
church, afterwards called Bethel. Of this church he remained 
a member till at least as late as 18 15. Whether he was its 
pastor or not during this period does not appear. He was 
Moderator of Long Run Association at the time of it constitu- 
tion, in 1803. 

Stark Dupuy was a son of Elder James Dupuy. He ap- 
pears to have been raised up in the ministry, in Bethel church. 
He was a young preacher of ardent zeal and excellent promise. 
But his health failed soon after he began to preach. He travel- 
ed in the Southern States for his health, and finally settled in 
Memphis, Tennessee. After his health became so feeble that 
he was compelled to desist from preaching, he compiled a hymn- 
book that attained great popularity in the Southern States, and 
especially in Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Shawnee Run church is located near a small stream from 
which it derived its name, in the northern part of Mercer county. 
It was gathered by John Rice, and constituted "the Separate 
Baptist church of Jesus Christ, on Shawnee Run," Nov. 21, 
1788. It united with South Kentucky Association, and re- 
ported to that body in 1790 a membership of sixty. After the 
general union of the Regular and Separate Baptists it became a 
member of South District Association, where its membership 
still remains. In 1807 it contained a membership of 155, and 
at that time, and for many years afterwards, was the largest 
church in the Association of which it is a member. It numbered 
at one period over 500 members, but it excluded, in 1830, 
about seventy for embracing Campbellism. Harrodsburg, 
Unity and Mt. Moriah churches have been constituted of 
its members, so that in 1876, it embraced a membership 
of only ninety-seven. More recently it has been much 

John Rice, the founder and first pastor of Shawnee Run 
church, is believed to have been a native of North Carolina, and 
was born in 1760. He was among the earliest settlers of Lin- 
coln county, Kentucky. He was a member of Gilberts Creek 
-church of Separate Baptists, where he was ordained to the gos- 


John Rice. 171 

pel ministry in 1785, and was probably the first preacher or- 
dained in Kentucky. Soon after his ordination he settled on 
Shawnee Run, in Mercer county. Here he preached to the 
few settlers that occupied the beautiful valley of Shawnee Run, 
till he gathered Baptists enough to constitute the first church 
which had any permanence in Mercer county. He was im- 
mediately installed its pastor, and continued to minister to it 
more than fifty-four years. Besides Shawnee Run, Mr. Rice 
preached statedly to Stony Point, Salt River (after the death of 
John Penny), and several other churches, at different periods. 
Besides his pastoral labors he traveled and preached much 
among the destitute, and was abundantly blessed in leading 
souls to Christ. He was often heard to say, in his old age: "I 
have baptized hundreds, yea thousands of fine men and women, 
and, I doubt not, many a sleek Simon Magus has passed 
through my hands." 

Mr. Rice was six feet and two inches high, very erect and 
symmetrical in form, and had small hands and feet. His hair 
was black and glossy, his eyes were dark and shaded by thick 
black eyebrows. His nose was large, with high cheek bones. 
His countenance was remarkably cheerful and winning. His 
voice was clear, strong and very musical, and he was an excel- 
lent singer. His social gifts were extraordinary. He intro- 
duced himself to strangers in a manner that made them friends 
at once, and it has been said that "he never lost a friend, except 
by death." "I remember the first time I ever saw John Rice," 
said an aged minister to the author, some years ago: "It was at a 
meeting of Green River Association, at old Mt. Tabor church, 
in Barren county, about the year 181 2. There was a great 
crowd of people around the stand in the woods. It was on 
Sunday. Two sermons had been preached, and the people 
were becoming restless. Mr. Rice rose up in the stand and 
darted a rapid glance over the congregation. Then pointing* 
his finger steadily, as if at a single individual on the outskirts 
of the assembly, he said, with a voice and manner almost inim- 
itably persuasive : * Methinks that gentleman is saying to his 
neighbor, 'who is that ? ' 

"If he and the rest of the congregation will draw a little 
nearer, I will tell them who I am, where I came from, and where 
I am going." The congregation began to draw up around the 

172 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

stand. The speaker continued : " My name is John, a Baptist. 
I came from the city of Destruction, and am bound for Mt. 
Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, an in- 
numerable company of angels, the spirits of just men made 
perfect, and to the general assembly and church of the first 
born." Before he closed a great crown gathered around him, 
and extending their hands to him, expressed their desire to go 
with him. 

Mr. Rice was not only beloved by the people among 
whom he preached the word, but he was esteemed and honored 
by his brethren in the ministry. On one occasion, after set- 
tling a difficulty among some brethren at David's Fork church, 
in Fayette county, a number of the ablest preachers in the State 
being present, the question was sprung as to who should preach. 
Jacob Creath, sen., immediately nominated Mr. Rice, saying: 
"Brother Rice has more skill in casting out devils than any of 

John Rice was the pioneer preacher of Mercer county; for, 
although Tinsley, Hickman and perhaps several others had 
preached in the county before he was ordained to the ministry, 
none of them are known to have been residents. Mr. Rice 
was a resident of this county previous to 1786, and, two years 
after that date, a resident pastor on Shawnee Run. Few men 
were more worthy of, or better fitted for, the responsible posi- 
tion of a pioneer preacher. He enjoyed the smiles of God, and 
the unqualified approbation of his brethren. After preaching 
the Gospel of Christ nearly sixty years, he left the thorny walks 
of mortal men, and went to join the General Assembly and 
church of the first born, on the 19th of March, 1843. The 
church he so long served erected a monument over his re- 
mains in old Shawnee Run church-yard, at a cost of^;^300. 
Mr. Rice was married but once. He raised six daugh- 
ters and four sons, all of whom he baptized with his own 

James T. Hedger is a grandson of Elder John Rice. He 
has for many years been a valuable minister of Christ. He is 
a sound, substantial preacher, well versed in the doctrines of 
the gospel, and is a writer of no mean ability. He is probably 
about sixty years of age, and is still actively engaged in the 
ministry. His home is in Anderson county, in which, and all 

James T. Hedger. 173 

the surrounding counties, he has preached much and with good 
success. He has contributed many articles to our periodical 
literature, and, above all, has kept his garments unspotted 
from the world. 



The year 1789, was a revival season in Kentncky, as it 
was in most of the Southern States. The Virginia churches 
were greatly blessed at this period, and most of the infant 
churches in the western settlements were much enlarged. The 
first baptisms reported to the Salem Association, were reported 
at its meeting in October of this year. The aggregate member- 
ship of all the churches in that Association, in 1788, was 188. 
The following year, the letters from the churches reported 
thirty-four baptisms, and an aggregate membership of 250. 
This was, however, only the beginning of the first revival in the 
bounds of that fraternity. The next year, 1 790, the baptisms 
aggregated 112, of which nineteen were at Bear Grass, twenty- 
one at Coxs Creek, and sixty-eight at Brashears Creek. The 
revival continued in the bounds of this association about three 
years, during which the aggregate membership of the churches 
composing it was largely more than double d. This was indeed 
a glorious work of grace, and came like a copious shower on 
the thirsty land. The solitary place was made glad, at last, 
and the wilderness rejoiced, and blossomed as the rose. 

In the bounds of Elkhorn Association, this revival was 
equally glorious. In 1789, the thirteen churches, composing 
that body, reported 288 baptisms, of which ninety-seven were 
at Bryants, thirty-seven at Boones Creek, forty-eight at Great 
Crossing, 128 at South Elkhorn, and 148 at Clear Creek. The 
revival continued here about five years, during which the aggre- 
gate membership of the churches in Elkhorn Association in- 
creased from 559, to 1,773. 

The increase in South Kentucky was also large, especially 
at Rush Branch, Tates Creek, and Gilberts Creek. It was 
during this revival, according to the statement of Elder Theod- 


TJteodfick Bouhvare. 175 

rick Boulware, in liis autobiography, that WilHam Bledsoe 
practiced a most disgraceful deception, at Gilberts Creek meet- 
ing house. Mr. Boulware was present during the meeting. 
He relates the circumstances in language of the following 
purport : 

"My father moved to Kentucky, and settled at Craigs 
Station in what is now Garrard county, in 1784. We suffered 
much in the wilderness, from the fear of Indians, and the want 
of bread. For a time the settlers lived almost entirely on wild 
meat, without bread. In the year 1789, the inhabitants had 
become sufficiently numerous to defend themselves against the 
Indians. There was an Arminian Baptist church here, called 
Gilberts Creek, under the ministry of Joseph Bledsoe and his 
son William. Great excitement was produced by the follow- 
ing sentence, written on each of two hen's eggs : 'The day of 
God's awful judgment is near.' William Bledsoe read the 
sentence aloud, from the eggs, in the audience of the people. 
He professed to be alarmed, and the alarm was great among 
the people. The excitement continued many months, and about 
four hundred were added to the church."* 

Theodrick Boulware was a Regular Baptist preacher of 
high standing, and was well known, both in Kentucky and 
Missouri, where he labored in the Gospel ministry, about sixty 
years. And although he was only nine years old when he 
witnessed the above proceedings, he was seventy-seven years 
old when he wrote the account of them, in 1857. William 
Bledsoe was, at that time, a young man, and possessed a bril- 
liant genius ; but was of that singularly erratic cast of mind that 
characterized the Bledsoe family of Kentucky at that period. 
He may have been deceived by some joke-loving wag who 
wrote the sentence on the eggs before they were taken from the 

The Baptists in Kentucky, in 1789, having heard that the 
Regular and Separate Baptists of Virginia had consummated a 
happy union among themselves, and were now all walking in 
fellowship, under the name of United Baptists, attempted to 
effect a similar union here. The effort did not succeed, and the 
breach was only widened, as it had been, from a similar cause. 

*Boulware's Auto-Biography p. 8. 

1 'j6 Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. 

in 1785. The difficulties in the way of uniting the Regulars 
and Separates in Kentucky, were constantly increasing. The 
Regulars had adopted the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, with 
some specified modification, as an expression of their doctrine. 
The Separates refused to adopt "any creed but the Bible." The 
consequence was, that they had adopted most of the popular 
errors in doctrine, that were afloat in the land. Some of their 
leading preachers adopted Universalism. Others were Hell- 
Redemptionists, and most of them practiced "Open Commu- 
nion." It might have been said of them, as it has been said of 
a more modern sect, without much prevarication, ' 'They have all 
kinds of preachers, preaching all sorts of doctrines." A nomi- 
nal union between the two sects was afterwards effected. But 
it will be seen in due time that it was only nominal, at least so 
far as a large number of the Separates were concerned. 

Hardtns Creek church was constituted in Nelson county, 
in 1789. It was gathered by that famous itinerant, Baldwin 
Clifton, who became its first pastor. It reported to Salem As- 
sociation, in 1790, a membership of thirty-two. This church 
was located in a Catholic settlement, and, for a long time was 
very weak. In 18 15 it reported to the Association only ten 
members, and was advised by that body, at its next session, not 
to dissolve. It did not report to the Association again till 1826, 
when it had twenty-one members. From this time it had a slow 
growth till, in 1845, it reached a membership of loi. Since 
that time it has had rather an even course. 

Baldwin Clifton was very active among the pioneer 
preachers of Kentucky. We find traces of his labors in nearly 
all the older settlements of the State. But his movements were 
so rapid, that he formed but a passing acquaintance with the 
ministers of his generation. He appears to have gathered 
Hardins Creek church, in 1789. He probably gathered Pitmans 
Creek church, in 1791 ; for he represented it in Green River 
Association, at its second anniversary. He remained a mem- 
ber of Pitmans Creek church, till 1807. This year he was 
Moderator of Russells Creek Association. Two years after this, 
he was a member, and probably the pastor, of Mays Lick 
church, in Mason county. He preached the introductory ser- 
mon before Bracken Association, in 1809. 

Smith Thomas was raised up to the ministry in Hardins 

Smith Thomas. \'JJ 

Creek church. He may be truly styled one of the great men of 
his generation. He began his ministry in early life, and prose- 
cuted it with great energy and extraordinary success till he was 
enfeebled with a lingering disease, which terminated his earth- 
ly career before he reached the age of sixty years. 

Mr. Thomas was born in Washington county, Sep. 4, 
18 10. In the seventeenth year of his age, he sought and 
obtained hope in the Redeemer, and, was baptized into 
the fellowship of Hardins Creek church, by that eminent 
servant of Jesus Christ, David Thurman. Soon after his 
baptism, he began to exhort sinners to repent and turn to 
God. He was licensed to preach in his twenty-seventh 
year, and, after a few months, was ordained. He was 
invited to preach once a month at Cox's Creek church, 
in Nelson county, Isaac Taylor being the pastor. Not long 
after this, he was invited to preach once a month at Little 
Union church, in Spencer county, of which the venerable 
George Waller was pastor. This arrangement was not a happy 
one. Mr. Waller was a firm defender of the doctrine taught 
by the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, while Mr. Thomas 
was, at that period, inclined to Arminianism. This caused 
some unpleasant controversy in the church, and necessitated 
the withdrawal of both the preachers. |t may be remarked here, 
that the policy of having two ministers'to preach statedly to the 
same church, is a very bad one. In almost every case, it de 
velops party spirit in the church, and, in many cases, genders 
bad feelings in the preachers, toward each other. When a 
church desires more preaching than it has been accustomed to 
have, let it demand more of the time and labor of its pastor. 
But if a church is so desirous of hearing a new preacher as to 
invite him to occupy her pulpit statedly, it would, in most cases, 
be wise in the pastor to resign. 

On the death of Mr. Taylor, in 1842, Mr. Thomas became 
pastor of Cox's Creek church. During the same period, he 
served the churches at Mill Creek and New Salem, in Nelson 
county, and Mt. Washington in BulHtt. Under his ministry 
at New Salem, P. B, Samuels was converted, and brought into 
the ministry. In December, 1843, Mr. Thomas moved to 
Shelby county, and took charge of Simsonville church, to v/hich 
he ministered several years. He also preached to Long Run, 

178 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Dover, Clear Creek and some others, at different periods. He 
was a number of years moderator of Long Run Association. 
In 1854, his wife died. After this, he seemed restless and 
unsettled, and occupied but little time in the pastoral office. 
Previous to this sad event, he was a good student of the Bible. 
His sermons were well arranged, and no preacher in the State 
could interest an intelligent audience more than he. But the 
death of his wife was so severe a shock to his warm and sensi- 
tive nature, that he never recovered from it. He ceased to study, 
and was restless and unsatisfied, in any position. His social 
balance was deranged. He sought relief from the achings of a 
bereaved heart, in an untoward exuberance of social intercourse, 
which presented the appearance of the abandonment of himself 
to social pleasures, innocent in themselves, but having an 
appearance of lightness and frivolity, that detracted from the 
dignity of his holy calling, and injured his influence as a minister ; 
especially in the last few years of his ministerial career. But 
he was not less, but more active in the ministry, after the death 
of his wife than before. He labored now, principally, as an 
Evangelist, and with extraordinary success. He estimated that 
he had baptized about thirteen hundred, while in the pastoral 
office, and had been instrumental in bringing into the churches, 
about two thousand who were baptized by other ministers. He 
wrote down this estimate, at the request of his daughter, ten 
years before his death. He probably added at least another 
thousand to this number, before he was called away from the 
field of labor. A peculiarity in Mr. Thomas' preaching was, 
that he always reached the best classes of society. A multitude 
of the best citizens of the country, were brought into the 
churches under his ministry. In a conversation with the author 
some years before his death, he called over the names of thirty- 
four ministers of the Gospel, who had been brought into the 
Church under his ministry, and proposed to the President of 
Georgetown College to compare them with a like number of 
preachers who had been educated in that institution. 

Mr. Thomas spent a part of several years in holding pro- 
tracted meetings in Missouri, where his labors were attended 
with great success. . Having, by some means, aroused the 
opposition of a Methodist minister, while engaged in one of 
these meetings, the clerical gentleman publicly challenged him 

Smith Thomas. 1 79 

to debate. Mr. Thomas promptly replied: "No, I will not 
debate with you ; for if I were to defeat you, Methodism would 
suffer ; and if you were to defeat me, the cause of truth would 

During one of these meetings, Mr. Thomas was attacked 
with hemorrhage of the lungs, which prostrated him for several 
months, and from which he never entirely recovered. He so 
far recovered, however, as to be able to preach several years 
afterwards. But his health gradually declined till, after several 
months of confinement, to his room, and much suffering from 
disease of the lungs and stricture of the bladder, he fell asleep 
in Jesus, at the residence of his daughter, in the city of Louis- 
ville, March 27, 1869. Thus passed away one of the most 
useful ministers Kentucky ever produced.. 

In person, Mr. Thomas was full six feet and two inches in 
height, and well proportioned. His complexion was very fair, 
his hair light, his eyes light blue, and his nose and mouth large. 
His features were regarded homely, but he presented a stately 
and commanding appearance in the pulpit. 

As a preacher, he possessed extraordinary natural gifts. 
He had a strong, clear intellect, excellent practical judgment, 
well understood human nature, and possessed a voice full and 
round; every tone of which was musical and persuasive. He 
was not a classical scholar, but was thoroughly self educated in 
his holy calling. He was an orator of a high order. He was 
singularly original in his mode of thought and expression. His 
manner combined clear, easily understood, logic, with much 
tenderness of feeling, and almost irresistible persuasion. In 
the social circle, he charmed alike the cultivated gentleman, 
the practical business man, and the school girl of fifteen sum- 
mers. His face was always wet with tears, in the pulpit, and 
bright with smiles, in the social circle. But even his tears were 
illuminated with smiles, while he described the beauties and joys 
of Heaven. ♦ 

Henson Thomas, an older brother of Smith Thomas, was 
raised up, a preacher in Hardins Creek church. His gifts were 
very moderate. After preaching a few years in Kentucky, he 
moved to Missouri. At the breaking out of the late civil war, 
he came back to his native State, and remained a few years. 

i8o History of Kentucky Baptists. 

At the restoration of peace, he returned to Missouri, where he 
is still living, 

Elsey Threlkeld Hickerson was born in Virginia, January 
27, 1807. His parents, who were both pious Baptists, and who 
lived to a good old age, moved to Kentucky, in 1808, and settled 
on Hardins creek, in Washington county. The father, William 
Hickerson, was long clerk of Hardins Creek church. He died 
in 1866. 

Elsey T. Hickerson was baptized into the fellowship of 
Hardins Creek church, while in his teens, by David Thurman. 
He began to exhort in early life. He succeeded his father as 
church clerk, and soon after his marriage to Miss ElenorSimms, 
Dec. 12, 1832, was ordained to the deaconship. He continued 
to exercise in prayer and exhortation, till June 1 1, 1842, when 
he was licensed to the work of the ministry. He was ordained 
by Joel Gordon, John Miller, John Duncan, and David Miller, 
February 28, 1843. In the Fall of the next year he moved to 
Mead county, and settled four miles from Brandenburg, where 
lie spent the remainder of his life. He was pastor, at different 
periods, of Brandenburg, Stephensport, Sandy Hill, Constan- 
tine, Lost Run, Dorretts Creek, Concordia, Macedonia, and 
Spring Creek churches. Besides his regular pastoral labors, he 
preached at private houses, school houses, and, indeed, any 
"where else, wherever he could get a few people together. He 
was emphatically a laborer in the Lord's Vineyard. He followed 
the Apostolic example of "warning every man publicly and 
from house to house, with tears." 

His last work was at Brashears school house, in Breckin- 
ridge county, in the Fall of 1866. At the close of a series of 
■meetings, he conducted at that place, he baptized thirty-three 
happy converts. Shortly after he reached home, he was attack- 
ed with some disease of the lungs, which terminated his life in a 
few days. On the 21st of November, 1866, this good man of 
God left the field of labor, and went to enjoy the rest that re- 
mains for the people of God. 

Mr. Hickerson was what is popularly denominated a dry 
preacher. He seemed to have no idea of the utility of oratory. 
His preaching consisted in a plain solemn statement of the doc- 
trine contained in his text, without embellishment or illustration. 
But this was done well. He was a close Bible student, and had 

Jess a) nine Creek CJnach. i8l 

a good understanding- of the plan of salvation. Above all, he 
was a good man. Upon this subject, saints and sinners held 
but one opinion. 

Jessamine Creek churchappears to have been gathered 
by Martin Haggard, Joseph Anderson and Elijah Summars, 
all of whom were among its members. It was constituted in 
1789, and united with South Kentucky Association, to which 
it reported, in 179O, a membership of sixty-eight. In 1807, 
its membership had decreased to forty-eight, and Elders Jas. 
Rucker and Robert R. Hunt were among its members. It is 
supposed to have been located in Jessamine county. It was 
probably swept away by the Campbellite schism. 

The laying on of hands after baptism, became a subject 
of discussion and contention, during the year 1789. It was 
an ordinance, practised among the early Baptists of Virginia, 
and brought by the early settlers, to Kentucky. The author- 
ity for the practice was deduced from Heb. 6:2. It seemed 
to be doubtful whether or not the passage taught this ordi- 
nance, as it had been practised heretofore, and some of the 
preachers omitted it. This caused disturbance in the churches, 
among those who supposed the Bible required it to be used, 
as the omission of baptism, by some of our ministers and 
churches, would cause disturbance among us now. The sub- 
ject was introduced in Salem Association, in the form of two 

1. "Whether any of the churches of this Association 
practicing or not practicing the laying on of hands on church 
members will be a bar to fellowship ?" 

2. "Whether any church belonging to this Association 
ordaining a minister that cannot, in faith, practice the laying 
on of hands be a breach of cprnmunion ?" 

Both of these questions were decided in the negative. 
The practice soon fell into disuse, among the Regular Bap- 
tists, and there appears to have been no attempt to revive 
it. The following extract from John Taylor's History of South 
River church, in Fauquier county, Virginia, will give the reader 
a correct idea of how the ceremony was performed. In the 
year 1770, a precious work of grace was wrought among the 
people on South river. This work was under the ministry 
of William Marshall, John Pickett and Reuben Pickett. 

182 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

"None of those preachers," says Mr. Taylor, "were ordained 
for several years. The first baptism administered in South 
river, was performed by the noted Samuel Harris, who traveled 
two hundred miles for that purpose. And an awfully solemn 
thing it was' to the thousands who had never witnessed such 
a scene. I think fifty-three were baptized on that day. Sev- 
eral young ministers came with Mr. Harris, as Elijah Craig, 
John Waller, and a number of others. The rite of laying on 
hands was practiced by the Baptists in those days. The prac- 
tice was performed [on that occasion] as follows:" After they 
were baptized, "those upwards of fifty stood up in one solemn 
line, on the bank of the river, taking up about as many yards 
as there were individuals. The males stood first, in the line. 
About four ministers were together. They all laid their right 
hands on the head of the person to be dedicated, and one of 
them prayed. The prayer was offered with great solemnity 
and fervor, and for that particular person, according to his age 
and circumstances. "* In this manner they proceeded along the 
line, solemnly dedicating each one to the service of the Lord, 
till all had received the rite. 

This ceremony must have been very solemn and im- 
pressive, and as long as it was believed to be scriptural, it 
was, doubtless, observed with reverence and holy delight. But 
as soon as the preachers could no longer practice it in faith, 
it was promptly abandoned. 

But now another difficulty, and one that assumed much 
larger proportions, began to afflict the young churches. This 
also came with the pioneers from the Mother States, or followed 
them to their new homes in the western wilderness. 

The subject of abolishing slavery was first introduced in the 
Baptist General Committee, at their meeting at Williams' meeting 
house, in Goochland county, Virginia, March 7, 1788. The 
subject was regarded of such importance as to demand calm 
deliberation. It was, therefore, deferred till the meeting in 
August of next year, that the churches might have time to 
express their sentiments on the subject. The General Com- 
mittee convened in Richmond, August 8, 1789. "The pro- 
priety of hereditary slavery was taken up at this session," says 

*History Ten Churches pp. 9, 10. 

Abolition of Slavery. 183 

Mr. Sample, "and after some time employed in the considera- 
tion of the subject, the following resolution was offered by Mr. 
[John] Leland, and adopted: 

' 'Resolved, That slavery is a violent deprivation of the rights 
of nature, and inconsistent with a Republican Government, 
and therefore recommend it to our brethren, to make use of 
every legal measure to extirpate this horrid evil from the land, 
and pray Almighty God that our honorable legislature, may 
have it in their power to proclaim the great jubilee, consistent 
with the principles of good policy."* 

Here it will be seen that the early Baptists of Virginia, in 
their great general yearly meeting, declared their opposition to, 
and abhorrence of slavery, in no ambiguous terms. They 
viewed it as "a violent deprivation of the rights of nature," a 
"horrid evil," "inconsistent with a Republican Government" 
and ' 'the principles of good policy. " Whatever may be thought 
upon this subject now, it cannot be denied that the Baptists 
of ninety years ago were strongly opposed to slavery, and 
ardently desired, and pledged themselves to make use of every 
legal measure to secure its extirpation. They are entitled to 
the honor, or reproach, of being the first religious society in the 
South to declare explicitly in favor of the abolition of slavery. 

The Baptist associations in Kentucky kept up a corres- 
pondence with the General Committee of Virginia Baptists, by 
letter and messengers, f and were thereby advised of all their 
proceedings. The Baptists of Kentucky were too intimately 
connected with those of Virginia not to sustain, with them, a 
general harmony of sentiment. Very soon, therefore, after the 
agitation on the subject of slavery commenced among the 
Baptists of Virginia, a like agitation pervaded the churches of 
Kentucky, which was, indeed, a part of Virginia, at that time. 

The first reference to the unlawfulness of slavery, found on 
the public records of Kentucky Baptists, is contained in the fol- 
lowing queries, sent from Rolling Fork church, in Nelson coun- 
ty, to Salem Association, convened at Cox's Creek church in 

*His. Va. Bap. p. 79. 

tElder Thomas Shelton was killed by the Indians while on his way from 
Kentucky to attend the meeting of the General Committee, in 1794. 
iClack's Annals of Salem Asso. p. 4. 

184 History of Kentucky Baptists. ' 

the same county, on the 3d of October, 1789. "Is it lawful 
in the sight of God for a member of Christ's Church to keep 
his fellow creature in perpetual slavery?" The question was 
answered thus : "The Association judge it improper to enter 
into so important and critical a matter, at present."* This 
answer gave no relief to the church. It soon afterwards with 
drew from the Association, "all except three members," who 
were advised to dissolve their organizations, and join other 
churches. Lick Creek church became divided on the subject of 
slavery, and was denied a seat in the Association, till the diffi- 
culty should be settled. Mill Creek church in Jefferson county 
sent up a query on the subject of slavery, in 1794, and, upon the 
Association's refusing to answer it, withdrew from that body. 
The preachers that headed the anti-slavery party, in this part of 
the State, were Joshua Carman and Josiah Dodge. Finding 
that they could accomplish nothing in the Association, they 
withdrew from that fraternity, with Mill Creek and Rolling 
Fork churches. They also constituted another church, six 
miles north-west of Bardstown, of such members of Cox's Creek, 
Cedar Creek and Lick Creek churches as had adopted their 
sentiments. This was, probably, the first church of emancipat- 
ors constituted in Kentucky. They appear to have made no 
attempt to form an association at this time. 

Meanwhile, Elkhorn Association, at its meeting, in August, 
1 791, "appointed a committee of three to draw up a memorial 
to the Convention to be held on the 3d day of April ^next, re- 
questing them to take up the subject of Religious Liberty, and 
Perpetual Slavery, in the formation of the constitution of this 
District, and report at the 'Crossing,' on the 8th of September. 
Eastin, Garrard and Dudley were the committee." At the 
meeting, at Great Crossing, in September of the same year, the 
"memorial on Religious Liberty and Perpetual Slavery was 
read and approved." This action of the Association did not 
meet the approval of the churches. Accordingly, the next 
Association, which met at Bryants, in December of the same 
year, and which was probably convened, in extra session, forj 
this express purpose, '^Resolved, That the Association disap'^ 
prove of the memorial which the last Association agreed to sen( 

*Clack's Annals of Salem Asso. p. 4. 


Abolition of Slavery, 185 

to the Convention, on the subject of ReHgious Liberty and the 
Abolition of Slavery. "* 

For several years after this, the associations made no refer- 
ence to the subject. But it still continued to agitate the church- 
es, and several preachers of a high order of ability and extensive 
influence continued to preach against slavery. Emancipation 
parties were formed in many af the churches, by which their 
peace was much disturbed. The nnprudence of the abolition 
preachers, in declaiming against slavery, in the presence of the 
negroes, caused insubordination among the slaves, and thereby 
disturbed the peace of society. This, however, was true only 
of the ignorant and more excitable preachers among the eman- 
cipators. The better class ' of these preachers were men of 
wisdom and piety. The disturbance became so manifest that 
Elkhorn Association, during its session at Bryants, in 1805, 
again took up the subject and passed a resolution, that "this 
Association judges it improper for ministers, churches or asso- 
ciations to meddle with emancipation from slavery, or any other 
political subject, and as such, we advise ministers and churches 
to have nothing to do therewith, in their religious capacities."* 

This resolution gave great offense to the emancipators. 
They became much more active and determined in their opposi- 
tion to slavery. Even the earnest and laborious William Hick- 
man was carried beyond the limits of prudence. On a fast day 
of that same year, he preached at Elkhorn church, of which he 
was a member, and the pastor. Histextwas, Is. 58:6: " Is not 
this the fast that I have chosen? to loose ihe bands of wickedness, 
to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that 
ye break every yoke f ' ' 'This sermon, ' ' says Theodrick Boul ware, 
"was disingenuous and offensive. The speaker declared non- 
fellowship for all slaveholders. A few days afterwards, he 
wrote a letter to the church, declaring his withdrawal."! 
Whether he went into the constitution of an emancipation church 
or not, does not appear. John Shackleford was called to the 
pastoral care of Forks of Elkhorn church for one year. Before 
his time was out Mr. Hickman returned and gave satisfaction 

®Manly's Annals Elkhorn Asso. tManly's Annals, 

iBoulware's Autobiography, p. 5. 

1 86 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

to the church, and, when the year was out, resumed its 

About the same time, John Sutton led off a party from 
Clear Creek church, which united with a faction of Hillsboro 
church, under the leadership of Carter Tarrant, and formed an 
emancipation church, called New Hope. This church was 
located in Woodford county, and was the first abolition church 
constituted in that region of the State.* 

The excitement extended all over the settled portion of 
the State. Several churches in Bracken Association fell in 
with the emancipation scheme. Among these were Licking- 
Locust, Lawrence Creek, Gilgal and Bracken. Among the 
churches that united in the movement, from North District, 
were Mount Sterling and Bethel. These and a number of other 
churches effected an organization, in September, 1807, under 
the name of ' 'The Baptized Licking-Locust Association, Friends 
of Humanity. " At their next meeting they Resolved "that the 
present mode of associations, or confederation of churches was 
unscriptural. They then proceeded to form themselves into 
an Abolition Society. '"\ We have no means, at present, of 
knowing the number of churches or preachers that went into 
this organization. Mr. Benedict estimates their number at 
twelve churches, twelve ministers and 300 members. In 18I6, 
they met at Lawrence Creek meeting house, in Mason county, 
under the name of "The Association of Baptists, Friends of 
Humanity." The following churches were represented : Brack- 
en, Gilgal, Lawrence Creek, Mt. Sterling, Bullskin and Betheh 
No account was received from New Hope in Woodford county. 

The preaching was by Jacob Mahan, Moses Edwards and 

Alexander. The Lord's Supper was administered by David 

Barrow and Thompson. There is a manifest tendency to 

"open communion" and other signs of decay, exhibited in the 
meager journal of their proceedings. The body kept up a feeble, 
withering existence till about the year 1820, when it was 

The emancipation movement, doubtless, originated in the 
honest convictions of sincere men. We cannot doubt the 

"'■History of Ten Churches, p. 81. 
^Benedict. Vol. 2. p. 248. 

Abolition of Slavery. % 187 ■ 

integrity of such men as James Garrard, Ambrose Dudley, Wm. 
Hickman and others who inaugurated the scheme, in Elkhorn 
Association. It is true that these men soon discovered the 
futihty of the scheme, and withdrew from a hopeless contest. 
They were too wise to spend their strength in endeavoring to 
accomplish an impossibility. But they went far enough to 
place themselves on record, and thus proved that they only 
tolerated slavery because they must. But we have no more 
reason to doubt the sincerity of Joshua Carman, Josiah Dodge, 
Carter Tarrant, John Sutton and David Barrow, who were 
more hopeful of success, and continued to prosecute their 
undertaking till God called them away from the field of labor to 
the land of rest. But the sincerity of the m.overs did not 
sanctify the movement. It was simply one of those unfortunate 
mistakes that grew out of the weakness of human judgment. 
The Emancipation movement accomplished little or no good, 
and a vast amount of evil. It disturbed the Baptist churches in 
Kentucky for a period of thirty years. It rent in sunder many 
of the churches, stirred up the bad passions of the people, 
gendered a spirit of insubordination among the slaves, and 
almost entirely destroyed the influence and usefulness of a 
number of excellent preachers. 

Josiah Dodge was among the first preachers in Kentucky, 
who refused to fellowship slaveholders. He was set apart to 
the ministry, at Severns Valley church in Hardin county. 
Joshua Carman, a brief sketch of whose life has been given, 
was called to the care of that church in 1787. He was a zeal- 
ous emancipationist, and under his ministry, doubtless, Mr. 
Dodge imbibed his sentiments on that subject. Mr. Carman 
preached but a short time to this church. When he resigned, 
Josiah Dodge became its preacher, being a licentiate. In 
1 791, Severns Valley church sent Mr. Dodge to Salem Asso- 
ciation, at Cox's Creek, with a request that the Association 
would appoint competent preachers to examine him, with re- 
spect to his ministerial qualifications. For this purpose the 
Association appointed James Garrard (afterward governor of 
Kentucky), William Wood of Mason county, William Taylor 
and Baldwin Clifton. These brethren reported that they were 
entirely satisfied with his qualifications. The Association 
"resolved that brother Josiah Dodge be ordained." This was 

1 88 Histoyy of Kentucky Baptists. 

a singular proceeding for a Baptist Association. But the scar- 
city of ministers, at that time, rendered it expedient. The 
Association was careful to state in their minutes that their ac- 
tion in this case was at the request of the church of which Mr. 
Dodge was a member. 

Immediately after his ordination, Mr. Dodge became pas- 
tor of Severns Valley church, at a salary of "thirty pounds a 
year, to be paid in convenient trade." He continued to serve 
this church till about the year I800, when he was succeeded 
by Joshua Morris. It was not far from this time that he and 
Joshua Carman commenced their Emancipation enterprise, in- 
dependent of the churches and association of which they had 
been members. Mr. Dodge and Mr. Carman, with their con- 
gregations, according to Tarrant's History of the Emancipa- 
tors, were the first who separated from the Baptists of Ken- 
tucky on account of slavery.* 

Josiah Dodge was the first preacher ordained in the 
bounds of Salem Association, and appears to have been a 
preacher of good gifts. He was much needed in that region, 
at that period. But his emancipation sentiments destroyed 
his influence, and he died young. 

JoHM Sutton was the next preacher who agitatea the sub- 
ject of emancipation with any considerable effect, in Kentucky. 
He was a native of New Jersey. In early life he went to 
Nova Scotia as a missionary. He was in that province, as 
early as 1763. After remaining there till 1769, he started to 
return to New Jersey. But on his way, he visited Newport, 
Rhode Island. Here he accepted an invitation to preach to 
the first church in that town. After remaining there six 
months, he went on his journey to New Jersey. After his ar- 
rival, he was called to succeed Samuel Heaton in the pastoral 
care of Cape May church. 

Here again, his stay was brief. After this he spent a 
brief period in Virginia, and was pastor a short time, of Salem 
church located 36 miles south-west of Philadelphia. Then he 
spent a time in the Redstone country (southwestern part of 
Pennsylvania), from whence he came to Kentucky. He set- 
tled in Woodford county, and became a member of Clear 

*Benedicts His. Bap. vol. 2. p. 246. 

John Sutton. 189 

Creek church, not far from the year 1790. Here he commen- 
ced a warfare against slavery, and became so turbulent that 
he was arraigned before the church for his abuse of the breth- 
ren. But having won Carter Tarrant, pastor of Hillsboro' and 
Clear Creek churches, to his views, they led off a faction from- 
each of these bodies and formed New Hope church of "Bap- 
tists Friends of Humanity." This was the first abolition 
church within the bounds of Elkhorn Association. It was 
constituted in Woodford county, about the year 1805. Soon 
after this, Mr. Sutton became blind. He, however, continued 
to travel and preach till near the close of his life. He died, 
aged about 80 years. 

John Sutton was one of four brothers, all of whom were 
Baptist preachers. The others were named, James, Isaac and 
David. James settled in Kentucky, about the time his brother 
John did. Of John Sutton, Mr. Benedict says : "He was a 
man of considerable distinction in his day." John Taylor 
says: "In rich expositions from the Scriptures, he had but 
few equals." "But great as was his preaching talent, " con- 
tinues Mr. Taylor, "he scolded himself out of credit in the 
church." He was a man of irascible temper, which greatly 
impaired his usefulness. Yet there is no reason to doubt his 
sincerity. He was exceedingly active and energetic in his 
holy calling, and doubtless accomplished much good in the 
early part of his ministry. 

Carter Tarrant another active preacher among the 
emancipators, was a native of Virginia. He was for a time, 
pastor af Upper Banister church, in Pittsylvania county, 
which was, in 1774, the largest church in Virginia. He was 
one. of the early settlers in what was then Logan county, Ken- 
tucky, and was very active and successful in gathering the 
earliest churches in the Green River country, and in organizing 
them into Green River Association. He afterward moved to 
Woodford county, where he became the pastor of Hillsboro' 
and Clear Creek churches, and, as already noted, joined John 
Sutton in constituting New Hope church of emancipation Bap- 
tists. For a few years, he was very active in promoting the 
emancipation scheme. But becoming much reduced in his 
worldly circumstances, he accepted a position as Chaplin in the 
American Army, during the war with England, in 18 12-15. 

190 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

While discharging the duties of that office, he died at New 

Carter Tarrant was regarded a good and useful man, and 
a preacher of above medium ability, in his day. He published 
a History of the Emancipationists in Kentucky. 

Donald Holmes was a man of some brilliancy of intellect, 
and sprightliness in speaking, but was "unstable in all his 

Mr. Holmes was a native of Scotland, had a good English 
education, and was raised a Presbyterian. He came to America 
as a soldier, during the American Revolution. He was taken 
prisoner, and paroled. While a prisoner at large, he engaged 
in teaching school in Frederick county, Virginia. Here he 
was baptized by John Taylor into the fellowship of Happy 
Creek church, about the year 1780. He soon began to preach 
and gave promise of usefulness. But there was in that church, 
a'c the same period, a brilliant young preacher by the name of 
Duncan McLean, who was also a British soldier. McLean 
soon began to preach Elhanan Winchester's chimerical notion 
of Universal Restoration. Holmes was led off by the same er- 
ror, and they were both excluded from the church. McLean 
became a great champion of the "Hell Redemption" theory, 
preached it with flaming zeal in the large eastern cities, for a 
time, then became an avowed Deist, if not an Atheist, moved 
to Kentucky, and died near Bardstown, not far from 1820. 
Holmes was restored to Happy Creek church, and soon after- 
ward, moved to Woodford county, Kentucky, and united with 
Clear Creek church. Here he was again set forward in the 
ministry. But here again, he was led off by John Sutton, with 
the emancipationists. He remained with this faction till it 
came to nought, and then moved to Ohio, and died about the 
same time that McLean did. 

Jacob Gregg was among the emancipators. He was a na- 
tive of England, and was educated at Bristol Academy. 
Early in life he entered the Baptist ministry, and was sent as a 
missionary to Sierra Leon, in Africa. Here he remained a 
short time, and then sailed for America. He first settled at 
Portsmouth, Virginia, where he preached for a time, and then 
married a Miss Goodwin. After visiting Kentucky, and 
spending the summer of 1796, he moved to North Carolina, 

Jacob Gregg. 191 

and took charge of the church at Northwest River Bridge. 
Here he labored a few years and then moved to Kentucky. He 
settled in Mason county, and took charge of May's Lick church 
in 1802. Shortly after this he espoused the cause of the 
emancipationists. To this cause he gave his splendid abilities 
during a period of two or three years. But meeting with un- 
surmountable opposition in this hopeless enterprise, he moved 
to Ohio, and, after remaining there only a few months he re- 
turned to Virginia, and settled in Richmond, in 1808. Here he 
conducted a school several years. Here also it became appar- 
ent to his brethren that he was indulging too freely in intoxi- 
cating drinks. When called to account for this sin he acknowl- 
edged his fault and promised amendment. But as he did not 
wholly abandon the use of strong drink, he was afterwards fre- 
quentl}^ overtaken in the same fault. About the year 18 16 he 
moved to Philadelphia, and took the care of Market Street 
church in that city. Subsequently he returned to Virginia, and 
spent the evening of his life in itinerating. He died in Sussex 
county, Virginia, after a few days illness, in 1836. 

Elder J. B. Taylor says of Mr. Gregg: "It will not be a 
departure from the truth to represent him as possessing extra- 
ordinary powers of mind. Perhaps the most remarkable trait 
in his intellectual character was a tenacious memory. It is said 
that while on the ocean, after he left his native land, he 
memorized the Old and New Testaments, and the whole of 
Watts' Psalms."* 

George Smith was born in Buckingham county, Virginia, 
March 15, 1747. His parents were highly respectable, and 
their son enjoyed the advantages of the best society. He was 
married to Judith Guerrant, October 20, 1765. He was bred 
an Episcopalian, and was clerk of the church, previous to his 
becoming a Baptist. When the Baptists first visited his neigh- 
borhood, he went to hear them preach, from vain curiosity. 
But the Lord sent an arrow to his heart, and he found no peace 
till he obtained it through the blood of a crucified Redeemer. 
He was baptized into the fellowship of Powhatan church in 
Powhatan county, by the famous David Tinsley. He soon com- 
menced exhorting, and, according to Mr. Semple, became "an 

*Lives of Va. Bap. Min., pp. 361, 362. 

ig2 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

excellent preacher." He was intimately associated with Wil- 
liam Hickman, the Dupuys and his younger half brother, 
George Stokes Smith, in spreading the gospel in Cumberland 
and Chesterfield counties. During his life, he and William 
Hickman were knit together in soul, like Jonathan and David. 

When John Dupuy moved to Kentucky, in 1784, George 
Smith succeeded him in the pastoral care of Powhatan church. 
He also became pastor of Skinquarter and Tomahawk churches, 
in Chesterfield county. These churches were prosperous and 
happy under his ministry, till 1804, when he moved to Ken- 
tucky, having previously visited it ten times. He first stopped 
in Woodford county, but, shortly afterwards, bought land in 
Franklin county, divided from that of his old yoke-fellow, Wil- 
liam Hickman, by Elkhorn creek. Here the two old veterans 
of the cross lived like brothers indeed, till they were separated 
by death. 

He arrived here just at the time the excitement on the 
slavery question had reached its maximum height, warmly es- 
poused the anti-slavery side, and gave his full strength to its 
advocacy. This rendered him unpopular among the Kentucky 
churches. He, however, continued to preach. At one time 
there was an extensive revival under his preaching in his own 
house. He departed this life on the 9th of August, 1820. | 

David Barrow was much the most distinguished preacher 
among the emancipationists in Kentucky. With the exception 
of John Gano, he was probably the ablest preacher, and, 
without any exception, the ablest writer among the Bap- 
tist ministers in Kentucky, at the beginning of the pres- 
ent century. Of his purity of life, devotion to the cause 
of his beloved Master and constancy of zeal and piety, it 
would be difficult to say too much. He began his ministry 
with flaming zeal and dauntless courage, at an unusually early 
period of life, and at a time that " tried men's souls," and la- 
bored on through trials, suffering and persecutions, without ap- 
parent abatement of zeal, faltering of courage, or a visible spot 

tFor the principal facts in this sketch, the author is indebted to the 
venerable George Forsee, a grandson of Mr. Smith, still living inOwenton, 
Ky., in his 94th year. 

David Barrow. 193 

on his garment, till God took him to himself, at a ripe old age. 
That he made mistakes, as all men in the flesh do, there can be 
no doubt ; but that he acted from sincere motives, with a view 
to promote the glory of God and the good of men, during his 
entire ministry, we have the united opinion of all his cotem- 
poraries, whose testimony has reached us. 

David Barrow was born in Brunswick county, Virginia, 
October 30, 1753. His father, William Barrow, was a plain 
farmer who, after raising his family, moved to North Carolina, 
and died in the 91st year of his age. David was brought up 
on a farm, with very little education. But after his marriage, 
he studied grammar under Elder Jeremiah Walker, and it is 
said that "he became an excellent grammarian." He pro- 
fessed conversion at about the age of sixteen years, and was 
baptized byZachariah Thompson, into Fountains Creek church. 
Like most of his cotemporaries, who became Baptist ministers, 
in Virginia, he began to exhort others to seek the Savior almost 
immediately after he, himself, had found him precious to his 
soul. He was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry 
in his 19th year, and, in the same year, was married to Sarah, 
daughter of Hinchia Gillum, a respectable farmer of Sussex 
county, Virginia, and a native of Scotland. The ordination of 
Mr. Barrow occurred in 1771. For three years from this time, 
he did not enter the pastoral office, but traveled and preached 
extensively in Virginia and North Carolina. During this period, 
and till two or three years later, he was called on to endure 
much hardness for the Master. But he bore it as a good sol- 
dier for Christ. 

In 1774, he became pastor of the Isle of Wight church. 
There were several churches in this vicinity, and the contig- 
uous parts of North Carolina, that had been gathered by a sect 
then called General Baptists. They held substantially the same 
doctrine that is now preached by the Campbellites. Some ac- 
count of this sect was given in the sketch of John Tanner. Mr. 
Barrow joined with Mr. Tanner and others, in renovating these 
churches. In this they succeeded, and in a few years they 
had a respectable association of churches, formed on the ortho- 
dox plan. They took out of the old churches such as could 
give a satisfactory account of a change of heart, and formed 
them in to new churches, to which many were added by ex- 

194 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

perience and baptism. The old churches soon perished. By 
this means Kehukee Association was formed. 

At the breaking out of the Revolution, in 1776, Mr. Bar- 
row shouldered a musket, and entered the army in defense of 
his country. When his term of service ended he entered, or, 
rather, continued his warfare in the service of Christ; for he was 
not the less a Christian when he was a soldier, in the service 
of his country. "His unexceptionable deportment rendered 
him very popular with all classes of men." Mr. Benedict gives 
the following incident, as a specimen of the rude persecutions 
this eminent and devoted servant of Christ was compelled to 

In 1778, Mr. Barrow was invited to preach at the house 
of a gentleman, living on Nansemond river, near the mouth 
of James river. A preacher of the name of Mintz accom- 
panied him. On their arrival, they were informed that 
they might expect rough usage. And so it happened. A gang 
of well dressed men came up to the stage, which had been 
erected under some trees. As soon as a hymn was given out, 
the persecutor sang an obscene song. They then seized both 
the preachers, and dragged them down to a muddy pond, say- 
ing to them: " As you are fond of dipping, you shall have 
enough of it. " They then plunged Mr. Barrow into the mud 
and water, holding him under till he was almost drowned. 
They then raised him up and asked him derisively if he be- 
lieved. In this manner they plunged him the third time, asking 
him each time if he believed. He finally said : "I believe you 
will drown me." They plunged Mr.- Mintz but once. The 
whole assembly was shocked. The women shrieked. But 
none dared to interfere ; for about twenty stout fellows were en- 
gaged in this horrid measure. They insulted and abused the 
gentleman who invited them to preach, as well as every one 
who spoke in their favor. Before these persecuted men could 
change their clothes, they were dragged from the house and 
driven off by these outrageous churchmen. 

Such were some of the persecutions the Baptists had to en- 
dure, only a hundred years ago, for no other crime than that of 
preaching the gospel. And let it not be forgotten that the 
persecutors were members of the Episcopal church. Let no 
one entertain a vindictive, or even unkind, feeling towards the 

David Batrow. 195 

:hurch, under whose auspices these horrid outrages were com- 
mitted. But it would surely be unwise to forget that the prin- 
:iples which led to these monstrous cruelties, in the past, would 
ead to the same results again, should their adherents ever gain 
sufficient power. 

But in the case related above, he who said: ' ' Vengeance is 
nine, I will repay," avenged his servants, speedily. Three or 
[bur of these persecutors died in a distracted manner, in a few 
iveeks, and one of them wished that he had been in hell before 
le joined the company.* 

" After the Revolution, Mr. Barrow was persuaded to ac- 
:ept the office of magistrate, the duties of which he discharged 
ivith fidelity, for some years." But finding that this office in- 
:erfered with his ministerial duties, he resigned it. Henceforth 
le gave himself wholly to his sacred calling. While contending 
for the liberty of the American colonies, he imbibed the notion 
Df universal liberty. Upon this principle, he came to the con- 
:lusion that it was sinful to hold slaves. Accordingly, he freed 
ill his negroes, of which he owned a considerable number. 
" Although this measure proved , his disinterested zeal to do 
right, " remarks Mr. Semple, "it is questionable whether it 
was not, in the end productive of more harm than good. While 
it lessened his resources at home, for maintaining a large fam- 
ily, it rendered him suspicious among his acquaintances, and 
probably in both ways limited his usefulness. " 

Besides the church on the Isle of Wight, Mr. Barrow was 
pastor of Shoulder Hill, Black Creek and Mill Swamp churches; 
all of which were prosperous under his ministry. For a number 
of years before he moved to the West, he was generally the 
moderator of Portsmouth Association. After laboring with 
great zeal and success in Virginia and North Carolina during a 
period of more than twenty years, he moved to Kentucky. 
He arrived in Montgomery county, June 24, 1798, where he 
settled for the remainder of his earthly life. There " he quickly 
distinguished himself as a man of piety, talent and usefulness." 
When Governor Garrard and Augustine Eastin embraced Uni- 
tarianism. Mr. Barrow was one of the committee, sent by Elk- 
horn Association to convince them and Cowper's Run church, 

^Benedict's His. Bap. Vol. 2, p. 249. 

196 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

of their error. In 1803, he pubhshed a pamphlet on "The 
Trinity." This production exhibited marked abihty, and, 
doubtless, did much to check the progress of that growing 
heresy, against which it was written. Mr, Barrow was also 
employed in negociating terms of union between the Regular 
and Separate Baptists, in 1801, and, as he had been successful 
in a similar enterprise, in North Carohna, so he and his coad- 
jutors were now successful in Kentucky, 

Soon after his arrival in Kentucky, Mr. Barrow united with 
Mount Sterling church, and became its pastor. He also ac- 
cepted the pastoral care of Goshen and Lulbegrud churches. 
In a history of Lulbegrud church, published in 1877, the author 
speaks of its ancient pastor thus: " Elder David Barrow was a 
man of the highest order of talent ; a fine preacher, very zeal- 
ous, well educated, possessed a thorough knowledge of the 
Scriptures, and was known in his day as the ' Wise Man.'" 
This was not saying too much. Perhaps no minister in Ken- 
tucky enjoyed the confidence and esteem of his brethren, and 
the people generally, in a higher degree than did Mr, Barrow, 
But he did not long enjoy this popularity. The people be- 
came excited on the subject of slavery, through the intemper- 
ate zeal of Sutton and Carman. Mr. Barrow was an emanci- 
pationist from principle, and this was well known. But he was 
"a wise man," and would have advocated his views with pru- 
dence. But imprudent zealots hurried on a crisis. Elkhorn 
Association transcended its legitimate authority, in fulminating 
a bull, concerning what churches and preachers should not 
teach. But North District Association made a nearer approach 
to papal arrogance. It not only expelled Mr. Barrow from his 
seat in that body, but also appointed a committee to go to his 
church and accuse him there.* This presented to the church 
the alternative of excluding their pastor from the church, or 
being excluded from the Association. There was no charge of 
immorality or heresy against Mr. Barrow or his church. The 
complaint was that he preached emancipation. Such an action 
by a mere ' ' advisory council " serves to give an idea of the ex- 
citement that prevailed at that time, Elkhorn and North Dis- 
trict Associations were guided by good and wise men, who well 

■■Benedict's His. Bap. V. 2, p. 249. 

David Barrow. igy 

understood the duties, privileges and powers of associations, 
and were jealous of the rights of the churches. But the mad- 
ness of fanaticism ruled the hour, and under its influence, they 
made this blunder. Thus excluded from the fellowship of the 
great body of the Baptists in Kentucky, Mr. Barrow directed 
his attention to the few that would fellowship him. He soon 
brought order out of confusion. The churches and fragments 
of churches that held to the emancipation scheme were organ- 
ized, and a respectable Association was formed. Mr. Barrow 
published a pamphlet of sixty-four pages on the evils of slavery. 
It is said to have been well written, "in a calm, dignified and 
manly style." This served to strengthen the "Friends of Human- 
ity, " and, possibly made some converts. But the popular current 
was too strong for the little emancipation bark to stem. The So- 
ciety soon began to wither. Mr. Barrow supported it with zeal 
and wisdom as long as he lived. But when his hand was taken 
away, it speedily perished. How sad that fourteen years of 
the life of such a man should have been wasted in so hopeless 
an enterprise. However, he continued to labor in the gospel, 
abundantly, till God called him away. 

As the close of this good man's life drew near, he anticipated 
it with triumphant joy. A little before he breathed his last, he 
repeated a part of the 23rd Psalm. On Sabbath morning, Nov. 
14, 1 8 19, he passed triumphantly from the thorny walks of men 
to the paradise of God.* 

*The author is indebted to an aged son of Mr. Barrow, recently living 
in Montgomery county, for many inteiesting facts concerning his father. 



The revival spirit which so happily pervaded the little 
churches in the Kentucky wilderness during the previous year, 
continued to yield fruits during the year 1790, though not so 
bountifully as during the year before. The Indians continued 
to harass the border settlements, and the country was much 
disturbed by political intrigues. Still the faithful minister of the 
Cross continued to labor actively, and with a good degree of suc- 
cess. Eight new churches were reported this year. All of them 
were small and most of them short-lived. 

Mays Lick church, located in Mason county, twelve miles 
from Maysville, on the Lexington turnpike, was constituted of 
four members, by William Wood and James Garrard, Novem- 
ber 28, 1789. The constituent members were David Morris, 
Cornelius Drake, Ann Shotwell and Lydia Drake. They all 
came from Scotch Plains church, in New Jersey. The church 
had occasional preaching by William Wood and other preachers 
who traveled through that region, but no pastor till 1797. At. 
that date Donald Holmes was called to the pastoral charge of the 
church. This year it reported to Elkhorn Association, of which 
it was a member, 43 baptisms and a total membership of 137. 
Mr. Holmes served the church five years, and then resigned on 
account of his opposition to slavery. A sketch of his life has 
been given in a previous chapter, in connection with the eman- 
cipation movement. Elder Jacob Gregg was the next pastor. 
He was called in 1803. He served the church but a brief period, 
when he created a difficulty in the church on the subject of 
slavery, which resulted in the exclusion of himself and several 

In 1808, Baldwin Clifton was called and served the church 

[198] i 

William Grinstead. 


two years. He was intemperate, and the church decHned under 
his ministry, till it contained only seventy members. 

In 18 12, William Grinstead became pastor of the church. 
He was an antinomian, and the church withered during the two 
years of his pastorate. The church was now small and weak, 
but the day of wonderful prosperity was near at hand. 

In 1 8 14, Walter Warder was called to the care of the church, 
and continued to serve it with great acceptance during a period 
of twenty-two years, when the Lord called him to his reward. 
His entire pastorate here was one of almost unparalleled pros- 
perity. During a single year (1828) he baptized 485 into the 
fellowship of Mays Lick church. Two years after this, Camp- 
bellism carried off 383 members. 

Since the death of Walter Warder, in 1836, the church has 
enjoyed the pastoral labors of Gilbert Mason, S. L. Helm, J. M. 
Frost, W. W. Gardner, J. W. Bullock, Cleon Keys, Joseph E. 
Carter, M. M. Riley and A. M. Vardeman, the present incum- 
bent. From its constitution, in 1789, to the fall of 1872, this 
church received by baptism 1,794; by letter, 334; by restor- 
ation, 6"/. Total, 2,195. Ten new churches have originated, 
in whole or in part, from Mays Lick ; so that her territory is 
now comparatively small. Its present number (A. D. 1880) is 
about 180. Of the preachers connected with the early history 
of this church, there have been given sketches of William Wood, 
James Garrard, Donald Holmes, Jacob Gregg and Baldwin 

William Grinstead was the fourth pastor of Mays Lick 
church. Of his nativity and early life nothing is known to the 
writer. He was pastor of a small Baptist church in Maysville 
as early as 181 2, and was then advanced in years. He was a 
man of warm, genial impulses, and was much beloved by his 
people, and very popular with the masses. He was pastor of 
Mays Lick church two years, but was unpopular there as a 
preacher on account of his antinomian sentiments. He con- 
tinued to serve the church at Maysville till about the year 1824, 
when he was excluded from the fellowship of that body for ha- 
bitual drunkenness. He made several attempts to reform, but 
fell lower every time he attempted to rise, till he became an in- 
veterate drunkard. He died at an advanced age, December 23, 

200 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Walter Warder, the fifth pastor of Mays Lick church, 
was a burning and shining light in his generation. He was co- 
temporary with WilHam C. Warfield, WilHam Warder, Isaac 
Hodgen, William Vaughan, John S. Wilson, Thomas Smith 
and Jeremiah Vardeman, a corps of giants that occupied the 
Baptist pulpit of Kentucky at that period. These servants of 
God were all pre-eminently useful in their generation. Vaughan 
probably surpassed all the rest in strength of intellect, acute- 
ness of discrimination and powers of logic, but was behind them 
all in leading sinners to the Cross. 

In bringing sinners unto salvation, through Christ, Walter 
Warder surpassed all the others, except Vardeman, who prob- 
ably was never excelled in this respect in Kentucky. 

Joseph Warder, the father of Walter, was a native of Mary- 
land. He came to Fauquier county, Va., when a young man. 
Here he was married to Esther Ford, about the year 1772, 
They both became Baptists, and were under the care of John 
Monroe, pastor of Thumb Run church. They raised six daugh- 
ters and five sons. The names of the sons were John, Joseph, 
William, Walter and Henry. Of these, John, William and 
Walter became Baptist preachers. Two of his sons having 
emigrated to Kentucky, he followed them, with all the rest of 
his family, and settled in Barren county, about six miles from 
the present site of Glasgow, in the year 1807. Here he and 
those of his family who were professors of religion united with 
Dripping Spring church, then under the pastoral care of Rob- 
ert Stockton. 

In 1809 they went into the constitution of a church called 
Mount Pisgah, of which Ralph Petty became pastor. Here the 
parents remained faithful and useful church members, till the 
Master took them home, at a ripe old age. 

Many of their descendants are still valuable members of 
different Baptist churches in Barren county, especially in Rock 
Spring church,, where George W. Warder, a great grandson, has 
recently been licensed to preach the gospel. 

John Warder, the oldest son of Joseph Warder, was born 
in Fauquier county, Virginia, September 9, 1774. He united with 
Thumb Run church in his native county, and was baptized by the 
well-known William Mason. In early life he married a Miss 
Elliot, by whom he had eleven children. After her death he 

Walter Warder. 201 

married Kiziah Kenney, who also bore him eleven children. He 
moved to Kentucky and settled in Barren county, in January, 
1805. Here he became a member and a deacon in Dripping 
Spring church. Four years later he went into the constitution 
of Mount Pisgah, in the same county. In 181 1 he was ordained 
to the ministry by Robert Stockton, Ralph Petty and Jacob 
Lock. He was pastor of Mount Pisgah church from his ordi- 
nation, till 1825. His preaching gifts were below mediocrity. 
In the division of the Baptists in Green River Association he 
adhered to the anti-mission party. In 1825 he moved to Lafay- 
ette, Missouri, where he became pastor of Big Sni-a-Var church 
of ' * Regular Baptists. " In this position he was much loved and 
respected by his people, till he finished his earthly course, in great 
peace, November 16, 1857. ^^ lived a church member, with- 
out reproach, sixty-three years, and a preacher of the gospel 
forty-six years. His son Joseph is said to be a respectable 
preacher, occupying the field left vacant by the death of his 

A sketch of the life of William Warder, who labored with 
much ability and great success in Bethel Association, will be re- 
served for another chapter. 

Walter Warder, the fourth son of Joseph Warder, and 
the fifth pastor of the Mays Lick church, was born in Fauquier 
county, Virginia, in 1787. He came with his father to Ken- 
tucky in his 20th year, where he at once engaged in teaching 
school. His education was very limited, but by means of close 
application while teaching it was much improved. He and his 
brother William entered into a covenant to seek the salvation 
of their souls, in the latter part of the winter, in 1807. Soon 
after this William set out on ^ journey to Virginia. On his re- 
turn the brothers met with great joy. They had both found 
peace in Jesus. They were both baptized by Robert Stockton 
into the fellowship of Dripping Spring church, the same day in 
April, 1807. Walter came up out of the water a preacher. 
He immediately began to declare what great things the Lord 
had done for his soul, and to exhort sinners to turn to Christ 
and live. December 7, 1808, he was married to Mary Mad- 
dox, daughter of Samuel Maddox, of Barren county. In 1809 
he, with most of his father's family, went into the constitution 

of Mount Pisgah church. He was soon afterwards licensed to 

202 Histoiy of Kentucky Baptists. 

preach, and about the same time was sent as a corresponding 
messenger from Green River to Elkhorn Association. In a 
letter to Edmund Waller, dated "Near Mays Lick, March 5, 
1836," and just a month and one day before his death, he 
says : 

' ' When I was a young man, and was under very many 
doubts whether it was required of me to endeavor to preach or 
not, I came from the Green River Association as a correspond- 
ing messenger to Elkhorn, and there, for the first time, was in- 
troduced to Brother [John] Taylor. After having been together 
several days, through his management, it was my lot, at night 
meeting, to endeavor to preach. With fear and trembling the 
task was performed. The state of feeling was pleasant in the 
congregation. An exhortation and some delightful songs fol- 
lowed; and the time had arrived, as we supposed, for dismission, 
when the old Brother arose and remarked, that when Paul came 
to Jerusalem, and Peter, James and John saw the gift that was 
in him, they gave him the right hand of fellowship. And then 
observed that, though neither Paul, Peter, James nor John was 
there, yet there were several old preachers and other brethren 
present; and he thought they perceived the gift that was in 
their young brother, and that he proposed they give him the 
right hand of fellowship as a young minister. Very soon his 
venerable arms were around me, imploring the divine blessing 
to rest on me, which was followed by others in a very solemn 
manner. I felt like *a worm and no man,' and could not hold 
up my head. Yet, if it was ever my lot to preach, this was 
one of the best occurrences of my life. The mind of the Lord 
is apt to be with his people, and in my desponding moments 
the recollection of that scene increased my strength, and aided 
in keeping me from sinking under my own weight."* 

Soon after this occurrence, perhaps in the year 181 1, he 
was ordained and became pastor of Dover church, in Barren 
county. After preaching here and in the surrounding country 
about three years he accepted a call to Mays Lick church, in 
Mason county. On his way to Mays Lick, in 18 14, he met with 
Elder William Vaughan. The acquaintance of these two noble 
men of God soon ripened into a warm and life-long friendship. 

*Chris. Rep., Mar., 1856. 

Walter Warder. 203 

Mr. Warder found the church at Mays Lick small and feeble, 
as were all the churches in Bracken Association at that time._ 
But he at once, with that earnest, well-tempered zeal that mark- 
ed his whole life, entered upon the duties of his holy office. 
The church soon felt the power of his consecrated labors. This 
influence spread rapidly, and the whole Association felt the 
power of his zeal. The church began to prosper immediately, 
and continued to increase in number till 1829, when it is said 
to have numbered over eight hundred members, and was prob- 
ably the largest church in the State. In the year 1828, Mr. 
Warder baptized 485 into the fellowship of Mayslick church, 
and more than a thousand within the bounds of Bracken Asso- 

But his pastoral work formed only a small part of his labors. 
Alone or in company with his brother William, Wm.Vaughan, 
or Jeremiah Vardeman, he traveled and preached extensively 
over the territory of Elkhorn and Bracken Associations, and the 
contiguous parts of Ohio. 

In 1830 Mays Lick church reasserted the doctrines on which 
it was constituted, by a vote of 189 to 100. By this action it 
lost 383 members, which formed a Campbellite church. A 
similar split occurred in most, or all of the churches in Bracken 
and Elkhorn Associations, as well as most other Associations 
in the State. During the incipient stage of Campbellism, its 
doctrines were vague, confused and undefined. Both Warder 
and Vardeman hesitated whether to oppose or encourage the 
'"Reformation." They did not understand its teaching. But 
in the latter part of 1828 William Vaughan returned from Ohio, 
where he had lived a year, to the bounds of Bracken Associa- 
tion. His keenly discriminating mind was not long in sifting 
Mr. Campbell's unsystematized system, and discovering the 
real sentiments of the "Reformer." He first visited Lee's 
Creek church, of which he had been pastor. He then went to 
Mays Lick, and, in two of the most powerful sermons of his life, 
dissected and exposed the heresy of Campbellism. Mr. War- 
der listened closely, and was decided. Mr. Vardeman also 
soon became decided in his opposition to Campbellism. There 
had, as yet, been no direct antagonism between the preachers of 

*McIlWin'g His. Mays Lick Ch. 

204 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

the different parties, and Mr. Warder still hoped that the storm 
might blow over without a rupture. Vaughan alone seemed 
to fully understand the radical errors of Mr. Campbell's 

In January or February, 1829, Mr. Warder and Mr. 
Vaughan were invited to aid in the ordination of John HoUiday, 
at Millersburg. On their way to that point they agreed to say 
nothing about the "Reformation," during the services. On ar- 
rival they found Jacob Creath, jr., there, uninvited. He was the 
most active and turbulent advocate of Campbellism in the State. 
He desired to take part in the ordination, but was not permit- 
ted to do so. At the close of the services he announced that 
he would preach that night. Accordingly he preached Camp- 
bellism undisguised. 

Next day Mr. Vaughan answered him in a most powerful 
sermon, two hours and three-quarters in length. This brought 
on the crisis. Henceforth the warfare was an open one, and 
fearfully did it rage, till the Campbellites were excluded from 
the Baptist churches. 

Mr. Campbell was not long in discovering Mr. Vaughan's 
great abilities, and the formidable opposition he was making to 
the "Reformation." Accordingly he sought a private interview 
with him. The interview took place in Maysville, in May, 1829. 
During the interview Mr. Campbell said: " Brother Vaughan, 
by opposing the Reformation you are losing your popularity, 
Semple, of Virginia, is losing his popularity by it. I tell you, 
baptism for the remission of sins will cover the whole earth. If 
you will join the Reformation you w^ill have more friends and be 
better sustained. I am informed that those who have joined the 
Reformation are more liberal than formerly, and sustain their 
ministers better." Mr. Vaughan replied : "I am a poor man; 
but neither popularity nor money will induce me to sustain a 
system of doctrine I do not believe." " I know it cannot," said 
Mr. Campbell. "And I have told the people, from Lexington 
to Nashville, that you are the clearest-headed man in Kentucky. " 
During the same conversation Mr. Campbell said to Mr. Vaughan: 
"If you and Walter Warder will join the Reformation this whole 
country will go into it."* 

"I took down these facts from the Ups of Mr. Vaughan, before his death. 

]]^alter Warden. 205 

For a number of years after the division between the Bap- 
tists and the CampbelHtes, the strife was very bitter, and the 
churches were sorely vexed. But Mr. Warder, stood firm, and 
labored on unfalteringly, till his strength failed. In the midst 
of the strife he was called upon to endure the loss of the wife of 
his youth. This great trial, together with the distress he en- 
dured on account of the troubles among the churches, was more 
than he was able to bear. His strength began gradually to fail. 
On the 15 th of December, 1830, he took for his second wife, 
Mrs. Elizabeth Dobyns. He continued to labor on, according 
to his strength, but his health and energies continued to fail, 
and his task wasvvell nigh done. 

In March, 1836, he went to Missouri to visit his children, 
and with the hope of recruiting his health ; but he rapidly 
grew worse. As his end approached, he remarked to those 
around him that he had often been the subject of doubts and 
fears in reference to his interest in Christ. " But," he added, 

" Jesus can make a dying bed 

Feel soft as downy pillows are, 
While on His breast I lean my head 

And breathe my life out sweetly there." 

On the 6th of April, 1836, he left the thorny walks of men 
to join the general assembly and church of the first born. His 
body was brought back from Missouri and laid in the grave- 
yard near Mays Lick meeting-house, where a neat slab marks 
his resting-place ! 

Indian Creek church, located in Harrison county, was 
probably gathered by Augustine Eastin. It was constituted of 
eight members, in 1790, and united with Elkhorn Association in 
August of the same year. It remained a member of this fra- 
ternity till 18 1 3, when it entered into the constitution of Union 
Association, to which it still belongs. Augustine Eastin was 
its first pastor, so far as known. Under his ministry it attained 
a membership of ninety-five, in 1802. But the next year it di- 
vided, in consequence of Mr. Eastin's having introduced the 
Arian doctrine among its members. About thirty members 
adhered to the recreant pastor, and formed themselves into 
what would now be called a Unitarian church. This faction, 
after the death of its leader, united with the CampbelHtes. 

About the time of this rupture David Biggs settled in the 

2o6 History of Kentucky Baptists, - 

neighbornbod and became a member, and probably the pastor 
of Indian Creek church. From this time till 1833, the church 
enjoyed peace and a good degree of prosperity. At that date 
it numbered 1 1 1 members. But the next year it divided 
again, about fifty of its members entering into the fellowship of 
Licking Association. From this time it continued to decline, 
till 1856, when it numbered only thirteen members. After that 
it increased slowly, till 1880, when it numbered forty- two mem- 
bers. Isaac Munson was a preacher in this church about sixty 
years. He died in 1852. Among its pastors since the death 
of Mr. Munson maybe named Henry Bell, John HoUiday, James 
Spillman, A. W. MuUins and George Varden. 

David"''BigGs was licensed to preach in Camden county, N. 
C, in 1 79 1, and was afterwards pastor of Portsmouth church in 
Norfolk county, Va. Mr. Semple says: "Elder Biggs is a 
sound and ingenious preacher, and is esteemed by his acquaint- 
ances as an exemplary man." He came to Kentucky about 
the year 1804, and was at different times a member of Indian 
Creek church in Harrison county, and Silas church in Bourbon. 
In 181 1 he preached the introductory sermon before Elkhorn 
Association. He labored in Kentucky at least sixteen years, 
and here, as in Virginia, maintained a good character and was 
a useful preacher. 

Unity Church, located in the eastern part of Clark county, 
originated in 1790 from a division of Howards Creek (now Provi- 
dence) church, as related in the history of that organization. It 
comprised at first about seventy members, including two preach- 
ers — James Quesenberry and Andrew Tribble. Being a Sepa- 
rate Baptist church, it united with South Kentucky Association. 
After the general union it fell in with North District, and in 
1842 united with Boones Creek Association. Three years 
after this its members united with those of a neighboring church, 
called Indian Creek, and formed a new church called Mt. Olive. 
This organization is a large and prosperous body, located about 
ten miles south-east from Winchester. 

James Quesenberry was either the first pastor of Unity 
church or succeeded Andrew Tribble after a very brief pastor 
ate of the latter. He was a native of Orange county, Va., 
where he was born, June 13, 1759, and from whence he emi- 
grated to Kentucky in 1783. Two years after the latter 

Jolm J\f Johnson and David Chcnault. 207 

event he settled in Clark county and united with Howard Creek 
church, being at that time an ordained preacher. When that 
church split, in 1790, he adhered to the Tribble party, and 
entered into the organization of Unity. Besides his charge at 
Unity, he was pastor of Red River and Friendship churches in 
the same county. Into the fellowship of the latter he baptized 
the subsequently distinguished Dr. Wm. Vaughan, in October,. 
1 8 10. Mr. Quesenberry's preaching gift was very meagre, 
but he maintained a respectable reputation and doubtless ac- 
complished good among the early settlers. He departed 
this life August 5, 1830, leaving behind him a very numer- 
ous posterity, many of whom have been and still are wealthy 
and influential citizens, and valuable church members. 

John M. Johnson was the next pastor of Unity church. 
He was chosen to that office in May, 1830, but proved him- 
self unworthy of the position; for, in February of next year he 
was excluded from the fellowship of Providence church for the 
sin of adultery. 

David Chenault was the next pastor of Unity church. 
His father, William Chenault, was of French extraction, but 
was born in Virginia. He was a soldier under Washington 
during the American Revolution. He moved to Kentucky in 
the fall of 1786, and settled near Richmond, in Madison county, 
where he died of ^the "cold plague," in the spring of 1813. 
Many of his descendants have been and are among the most 
valuable citizens and church members in Madison county. 
David Chenault was born of Baptist parents in Albemarl county, 
Virginia, September 30, 1771, whence he came with his par- 
ents to Kentucky in 1786. He was married to Nancy Tribble, 
daughter of Elder Andrew Tribble, in 1793. He joined the 
church at Mt. Nebo about the year 1795, and was baptized by 
Peter Woods. His ministry commenced during the great re- 
vival of 1800—3. He possessed only, a common school educa- 
tion; but he had a strong native intellect and sound practical 
judgment. He was an extensive farmer, and held the office of 
Justice of the Peace about twenty years. He was a successful 
business man and accumulated a fortune of not less than i^ioo,- 
000; and was inclined to be penurious, rather than liberal. 
He was, however, an active pastor, usually serving four churches 
for a period of nearly fifty years. Besides this, he preached a 

■208 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

great deal in the mountains of Kentucky, even down to old 
age. Among the churches he preached to besides Unity, were 
Cane spring, Lulbegrud, Log-lick, White Oak Pond, Mt. Ta- 
bor, Stoners Branch and Union. 

He was a Hyper-Calvinist in doctrine, and very uneven 
in his religious ministrations. Some times his zeal amounted to 
a burning enthusiasm,at others he was dull and chillingly frigid. 
But he never swerved from the path of conscientious recti- 
tude. At a ripe old age he fell asleep in Jesus, May 9, 

HiCKMANS Creek was another small body of Separate Bap- 
tists, gathered in 1790, in what was then Fayette county. It 
comprised twenty-five members, among whom were Thomas 
Ammon, an ordained preacher, and Robert Asherst and John 
King, licensed preachers. It was either soon dissolved or 
changed its name, so that ife cannot be identified. 

Thomas Ammon was probably the first and only pastor of 
Hickmans Creek church. He was a native of Virginia, where 
he was active in the gospel ministry. He was a preacher of 
great zeal and usefulness, and was at one time honored with a 
term in Culpeper jail for "preaching the gospel of the Son of 
God contrary to law. " After the close of the Revolutionary 
War he came to Kentucky. Here also he verified God's prom- 
ise to the righteous. "They shall still bring forth fruit in old 
age." John Taylor, who labored with him in Virginia, as well 
as in Kentucky, speaks of him thus: "This awakening [at 
Clear Creek] was by the preaching of Thomas Ammon, always 
a mighty son of thunder. He had been a great practical sinner. 
His conversion was as visible as his wickedness had been. He 
began to preach in time of hot persecution in Virginia. He 
was honored, as many others were, with a place in Culpeper 
prison, for the testimony of his divine Master. He died some 
years ago in Kentucky.". His death occurred not far from 

Head of Beech Fork was the name of a Separate Bap- 
tist church constituted of about thirty members, in the eastern 
part of Mercer county, in 1790. Among its members was a 

*I have these facts from his son, recently Hving in Tennessee. 
tHistory Ten Churches, p. 102. 

Separate Baptist Churches Constituted in 1790. 209 

licensed preacher of the name of WilHam Ray. This is all that 
is now known of this church. Doubtless it was soon disbanded, 
as were many other small churches of Separate Baptists consti- 
tuted in this period of partisan excitement. During the year 
T789 an unsuccessful attempt was made to unite the Regular 
and Separate Baptists. This seems to have greatly inflamed 
the party zeal of the Separates. Their preachers became fac- 
tious proselyters, and organized little churches wherever they 
could get a few converts together, even though it were in the 
immediate vicinity of Regular Baptist churches. Most of these 
soon perished, and, of course, did harm rather than good. The 
practice of constituting little, feeble churches in out.of-the-way 
places is still too common. 

Hardins Creek was constituted a Separate Baptist church, 
of fifteen members, in 1790. It was located near the south- 
west corner of Washington county, in the immediate vicinity 
of Hardins Creek church of Regular Baptists. It had no preacher 
among its members, and it soon perished. 

Mount Pleasant church was constituted at the house of 
William Haydon, in Franklin county, by Moses Bledsoe and 
John Bailey, July 24, 179O, and united with South Kentucky 
Association under the style of the Separate Baptist church at 
the Forks of Elkhorn. The members of which it was consti- 
tuted were Daniel James, Ernest Martina, Benjamin Craig, 
William Solsman, William Haydon, Robert Church, Prichard 
McAndrew, Joseph Collins, Jeremiah Craig, Elizabeth Hatton, 
Robert Smither, Sarah James, Benjamin Perry and Ansellor 
Church. Not long after its constitution the church took the 
name of Mount Gomer, and in 1801 assumed its present title. 
For a long series of years this was one of the most prosperous 
churches in Franklin Association ; but for a number of years 
past it has been on the decline, and, although it is supposed 
that 2,000 persons have been members of it since its constitu- 
tion, its present membership is less than fifty. Prominent 
among the preachers who have served it as pastors may be 
named Moses Bledsoe, Theodrick Boulware, Isaac Crutcher, 
William Hickman, Sr., William C. Blanton, Y. R. Pitt and F. 
H. Hodges. 

West Fork of Cox's Creek was constituted a Separate 
Baptist church on the western border of Nelson county, in 1790. 


History of Kentucky Baptists. 

It was probably gathered by Benjamin Lynn, and numbered 
thirty-one members. This church continued to prosper for a 
number of years, but was finally dissolved. New Salem, a large 
and flourishing church, long under the pastoral care of P. B. 
Samuels, occupies its ancient locality. 

White Oak Run church of Regular Baptists was consti- 
tuted of eighteen members, in 179O, and united with Salem As- 
sociation the same year. It was located in the southern part of 
Nelson county. Of its history nothing more has been ascer- 
tained. It probably soon dissolved. 

We are now, at the close of the associational year, in the 
fall of 1790, able to give complete statistics of the Baptists of 
Kentucky and of the United States. The following summary, 
copied from "Asplund's Register, " will exhibit the condition of 
the Baptists in the United States and its territories at thct 
period : 


New Hampshire 


Rhode Island 



New York 

New J ersey 


Delaware • 


Virginia. . ' 


Western Territory 

North Carolina 

Deceded Territory — Tennessee 

South Carolina 















Ord. ! Lie. 












1 12 


























Sects or Orders of Baptists. 


The following table shows the different sects or orders of 
Baptists at that period : 

Sects or Orders. 

Six Principle Baptists 

Open Communion Baptists.. 
General Provision Baptists... 

Seventh-Day Baptists 

Regular Baptists 

Total 35 


















700 437 64,546 






There were in Kentucky, at this time, three associations — 
Elkhorn, Salem and South Kentucky. The last named was 
composed of Separate, the other two of Regular Baptist churches. 

Elkhorn comprised 14 churches, 21 ordained ministers, 9 
licensed ministers and 1,379 rnembers. 

Salem comprised 8 churches, 6 ordained ministers, i licensed 
minister and 505 members. 

South Kentucky comprised 20 churches, 14 ordained min- 
isters, 12 licensed ministers and 1,344 members. 

The total numbers in Kentucky were three associations, 
42 churches, 40 ordained ministers, 21 licensed ministers and 
3, 105 members. 

The whole population of Kentucky was y^y^??- This gave 
a little less than one Baptist to every twenty-three of the popu- 
lation. This was at the close of a revival, and was followed by 
a spiritual dearth of ten years' duration. 

Another ten years will considerally decrease the proportion 
of Baptists to the population. 



From the beginning of the year 1791, our pioneer fathers 
could look over the labors, toils and dangers of the past ten 
years, with mingled feelings of thankfulness and regret. Much 
privation and labor had been endured, and many dangers had 
been encountered. 

Many of their beloved brethren and sisters had fallen by 
the hands of the blood-thirsty savages, and, much suffering had 
been endured for want of food, clothing and shelter. Their labors 
in the gospel had produced as yet but meager fruits. The for- 
ty-three churches which they had gathered were all still in ex- 
istence, except Gilbert's Creek of Regular Baptists, but they 
contained an aggregate membership of only a little more than 
three thousand, and a large majority of these had been received 
by letter. The clouds of Indian warfare hung darkly along their 
north-western border, and the news of murder and rapine con- 
stantly reached their ears, aud filled their wives and children 
with alarm. But the outlook was far better, and the prospects 
much brighter, than they had been ten years before. They had 
become inured to toil and suffering, so, that even their women 
and children endured hardships, and dared dangers with com- 
paratively little murmuring, or alarm. The forests had been cut 
away around their cabins, and the virgin soil produced an abun- 
dance of materials for food and clothing. Their dwellings had 
been better arranged for their protection against sun and storm. 
Many conveniences had been arranged for their comfort, and 
the " old settler " began to " feel at home." * 

Of the more than forty ordained, and twenty licensed 
preachers that had emigrated to the country, or been raised up 
in the infant churches, only one had been taken away. 


CJiurches Constituted in 1791. 213 

John Gerrard had fallen by the hand of the red men. All 
the rest were in the field of labor, could these faithful servants 
of Christ have lifted the veil that hid from their eyes the next 
ten years, they would have seen an almost unbroken cloud of 
appalling gloom, hanging over the cause they loved so dearly, 
thickening and darkening, up to the very close of the decade. 
But happily they beheld only the past and present, and these 
inspired them with hope and courage. 

Of the churches they had planted, many were feeble and 
ready to perish, but a number of them had grown strong, and 
were mighty bulwarks against the unrolling waves of vice and 
folly. Among the latter which still exists, may be named Sev- 
erns Valley, Cedar Creek, Cox's Creek, Forks of Dix River, 
Shawnee Run, Hanging Fork (now New Providence), Tates 
Creek, Howard Creek (now Providence), Boones Creek (now 
Athen), Marble Creek (now East Hickman), Clear Creek, Bry- 
ants, Great Crossing, Forks of Elkhorn, Limestone (now Wash- 
ington), Mayslick, and several others that have now grown feeble. 

The foundation to build upon was laid broad and strong, 
and these men of God labored faithfully to build up taberna- 
cles for the "habitation of God through the spirit." 

During the year 1791, at least seven new churches were 
gathered, three of which are still in existence. 

Cove Spring, afterwards called Stony Point, church was 
constituted of thirteen members, dismissed from Hanging Fork, 
in the eastern part of Mercer county, in 1791. It was proba- 
bly gathered by William Marshall, who was the only Regular 
Baptist preacher, laboring in that region, at that time Mr. 
Marshall was a member of Hanging Fork church, as well as its 
pastor, and had his residence in the Southeastern part of Shel. 
by county, " at a place called the Knobs." Stony Point church 
united with Elkhorn Association, in August of the same year 
in which it was constituted. It remained a member of that 
body, till 1808, at which time it contained forty-seven mem- 
bers. It finally dissolved, several years ago. 

Strides Fork was constituted of nine members, and 
united with Elkhorn Association, in 1791. It continued to rep- 
resent itself in the Association till 1796, when it reported nine 
members, having received but one by baptism during five 
years. It was probably dissolved about this time. 

214 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Reuben Smith was ordained to the ministry at Strodes 
Fork, in November, 1793. Bryants church refused to take 
part in his ordination because of the irregularity of his baptism. 
Soon after Strodes Fork church dissolved, Mr. Smith moved to 
Spencer county. Failing to unite with any church, after this 
removal, Salem Association, at its meeting at Cox's Creek, in 
in 1797, entered upon her minutes, the following item: "The 
Association advises the churches of this union to discounte- 
nance Reuben Smith from either preaching, or administering 
the ordinances amongst them, unless he unites himself with 
some church." In December of that year, Mr. Smith gave his 
letter to Elk Creek church, and in June of the next year, was 
chosen its pastor. He continued to preach to this church till 
May, 1 818, when he resigned. He was recalled the next year, 
and preached to the church another twelve months, when he 
resigned again. Soon after this, he was dismissed by letter, 
and moved to Indiana, where he spent the remainder of his 
earthly life. 

Reuben Smith was a man of strong intellect, and possessed 
good natural gifts for public speaking, but he was morose, 
stubborn and indolent. He lived always in extreme poverty, 
and murmured much about his charges not supporting him. 
He was arraigned before his church, at one time, for saying 
that the church had not paid him enough, during the nineteen 
years he had preached to it, to pay for the pins that fastened 
his children's clothes. At another time, he invited the breth- 
ren to visit him at his house, on a certain day. Many of them 
went. At dinner time he invited them to the table, on which 
there was nothing to eat but a large pone of corn bread. He 
apologized to them by saying: " Brethren, the fare is rough, 
but it is the best I have." Next day the brethren sent him a 
supply of provisions for his table. 

He was inclined to be speculative in his preaching, and 
sometimes went beyond his depth. On one occasion he was 
preaching about the " sea of glass mingled with fire." He had 
talked but a short time when he became so much confused that 
he paused, unable to proceed farther. After a moment, he said 
abruptly: " Brethren, you think Smith's in the brush and can't 
get out: I'll show you. Let us look to the Lord and be dis- 

Churches Constituted in lygi. 215 

Taylors Fork, a small church o£ nineteen members, was 
onstituted and added to Elkhorn Association, in 1791. It 
seems never to have had a baptism into its membership. It re- 
ported twenty-two members, in 1794, and then disappears from 
the records. It was probably dissolved about that date. 

Green Creek church was constituted in Bourbon county, of 
ten members, on the fourth Saturday in April, 1791. It joined 
Elkhorn Association in August of the same year. It enjoyed 
some degree of prosperity till the great revival of 1800-3, when 
its membership was increased to 120. Means of tracing its his- 
tory further are not at hand. 

Bloomfield church, originally called Simpsons Creek, like 
Cox's Creek church, from whence it sprang, has, from its consti- 
tution to the present time, been a large, influential body, and has 
held in its membership a large number ot influential citi- 
zens. It is located in a small village, from which it derived its 
present name, in the north-eastern part of Nelson county. 

Simpsons Creek church was constituted of thirty members, 
by William Taylor and Joshua Carman, March 12, 1791. Im- 
mediately after the constitution, William Taylor was called to its 
pastoral care, and Joshua Carman was invited " to serve us as 
often as possible." The church began at once to prosper. 
Some were baptized and a number were received by letter within 
a few months. In the year 1800 the church comprised about 
1 10 members, to which 72 were added the following year. 
Strict discipline was maintained, and there were occasional bap- 
tisms, till the year 18 16, when a great revival visited the church, 
and 116 were added to its membership, by baptism. 

In December, 1820, the church invited Jacob Creath to 
preach for it. This proved unfortunate. Mr. Creath was 
among the first preachers in Kentucky to adopt and preach 
Campbellism. A number of the members of Bloomfield church 
imbibed his sentiments. The church continued them in fellow- 
ship, till 1834, with the hope of reclaiming them. Failing in 
this, they were excluded, to the number of fifty-seven. Among 
these was Jervis P. McKay, an ordained preacher. The church 
committed an unfortunate blunder in allowing these Schismatics 
the use of its house of worship. It is a great inconsistency, not 
to say a great sin, for a church to exclude its members for hold- 
ing false doctrine, and then encourage them in teaching that 

2i6 . History of Kentucky Baptists. 

doctrine by allowing them the use of its house of worship. 

From the death of William Taylor, in 1809, the church 
seems to have had no regular pastor, till 1834, when it called 
Isaac Taylor, a son of its first pastor, to that office. During this 
interval, it had a number of preachers among its members. 
These, together with other preachers within reach, who were in- 
vited to preach certain Sundays in the month, occupied its pul- 
pit. This policy, although adopted by several of our most pros- 
perous churches, in the early days of the commonwealth, is by 
no means commendable, for reasons not now necessary to be 

On Saturday before the second Sunday in February, 1836, 
William Vaughan was invited to preach to the church, in con- 
nection with " Father Taylor," and just two years afterwards, on 
the resignation of Mr. Taylor, Mr. Vaughan was chosen pastor 
of the church, and continued to serve in that capacity till 1869, 
when he was disabled by a fall. He was succeeded in the pas- 
toral office by Thomas Hall, who still (1885) serves in that capa- 
city. This old mother of churches, now surrounded by a num- 
ber of daughters, with whom she has divided her ancient, exten- 
sive territory, till she has left only a small field around the old 
homestead, is still a strong and vigorous body, and a leading 
member of Nelson Association. 

Of the early pastors of this church, sketches of the lives of 
William and Isaac Taylor have already been given. Of several 
others of her pastors and preachers, something may appropriately 
be said in this connection. 

Walter Stallard was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, 
about the year 1750. In early manhood he married a Miss Mc- 
Clanahan, who bore him three sons and two daughters. The 
sons all died, unmarried. The wife died in 1782, and during the 
next year he came to Kentucky. He stopped a short time in a 
fort at the Falls of Ohio, and then moved into a fort near where 
Bardstown now stands. Again, in a few months he moved to 
what is now Spencer county, from whence his next move was to 
the home above. About the year 1785 he visited Virginia, 
where he married a Miss Basey, first cousin to the famous old 
pioneer preacher, John Taylor. In 1791 he united with Simp- 
sons Creek church by letter, and in November of the same year 
was appointed an elder in that church. In March, 1802, he was 

Pastors in lygi. 217 

licensed to preach, and was ordained to the ministry by Reuben 
Smith, Warren Cash and William McKay, August 13, 1803. It 
will be observed that he was now fifty-three years of age ; but 
late in life, as it was when he entered upon his holy caUing, he 
did much valuable work in the Master's vineyard. He was a 
man of sound judgment, good business habits and of unblem- 
ished reputation. He preached the introductory sermon before 
Salem Association, in 181 5, and was at least six years Moderator 
of that body. He quit the scenes of earthly toil August 15, 
1827. Many of his descendants are still living in Spencer and 
adjoining counties. 

Francis Davis was licensed to preach in Bloomfield church, 
in 18 12. Not long after this he moved near Mount Eden, in 
Shelby county. He was a good man, an earnest Christian and 
a close student of the Word of God. Few ministers in his region 
of country were better versed in the sacred Scripture. He was 
called an excellent "fireside preacher," but his gift for public 
speaking was so poor that he did not succeed well in the pulpit. 
He was highly esteemed in love, and continued to exercise a 
good influence for the Master, till he fell asleep in Jesus, at a 
ripe old age. 

Spencer Clack united with Bloomfield church about the 
beginning of the year 1825. He probably came from Pennsyl- 
vania, where he had studied theology under the distinguished Wil- 
liam Staughton. He was a man of learning and culture, and his 
influence soon began to be felt, not only in the church at Bloom- 
field, but among the Baptists of Kentucky. He established a 
school of high grade in Bloomfield, in which many of the sub- 
sequently distinguished citizens of the surrounding country were 
educated. He was a man of activity and enterprise, as well as 
a strong, sound preacher. In 1825 he was elected clerk of Salem 
Association, and was by that body requested to write a history 
of that fraternity and present it at the next meeting for inspec- 
tion. This task he performed to the satisfaction of the Associa- 
tion. The history compiled by Mr. Clack, with a full file of the 
minutes before him, was published, with the minutes of Salem 
Association, in 1826, and also copied into its book of records. 
It was an invaluable contribution to Kentucky Baptist history. 

About the beginning of the year 1826, George Waller and 

Spencer Clack began the pubhcation of a paper called *' The 

2 1 8 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Baptist Register.'' It was issued semi-monthly, and proposed 
to "endeavor to strip religion of everything like the traditions 
of men, and to present the truth in a plain and simple manner." 
The name of the paper was exchanged for that of the The 
Baptist Recorder, and, in 1830, it was changed to a monthly. 
Meanwhile, the Baptist Chronicle, having been established by 
Uriel B. Chambers, at Frankfort, the Baptist Recorder was 
soon discontinued. But Mr. Clack did not cease to write. He 
wrote a series of letters to Alexander Campbell, and was a 
large contributor to the Baptist Chronicle. With constancy, and 
great energy, he opposed Campbellism, from 1826, till that 
heresy was publicly condemned by Frinklin, Elkhorn and 
^Bracken Associations, and thereby separated from the Baptist 
churches, in the bounds of these old fraternities. Mr. Clack 
jpreached once a month to the church in Bloomfield. But the 
time had come when the Baptists of Kentucky must lose the 
'Jabors of this able preacher, and writer, and the community 
around Bloomfield, a most excellent teacher. In 1832, he 
moved to Palmyra, Missouri, and, the next year, died of- 
cholera. '^ 

Henry Thomas, William Thomas and Jervis P. McKay 
were ordained in Bloomfield church, Nov. 13, 1831. McKay 
soon afterwards joined the Campbellites, and has continued, to 
the present (1885), preaching their peculiar dogmas. William 
Thomas moved to Missouri, where, it is believed, he also became 
a Campbellite. 

Henry Thomas was a man of excellent preaching abilities, 
and was highly esteemed among the brethren. He had been 
invited to preach to the church at Bloomfield, before he was I 
ordained. In 1834, Isaac Taylor was called to the care of 
Bloomfield church. About this time Mr. Thomas moved to, 
or near Greensburg, where he labored with much acceptance, 
some years, and then moved to Missouri. 

Daniel S. Colgan was licensed to preach, at Bloomfield, 
May 13, 1832. For a number of years, he was active and 
very successful, especially as an Evangelist. But after his 
marriage, he became less active in the ministry. He lived at 
Lebanon, a number of years. For many years past he has 
lived at Owensboro. He is getting quite old, now, and preaches 
very seldom. 

William VaughaH. 219 

William Vaugiian was the most eminent minister that 
has served the church at Bloomfield. He was the strongest 
and longest hnk that united the pioneer preachers with those of 
the present generation, and partook largely of the best qualities 
of both classes. He labored in the ministry, with Lewis Craig, 
John Taylor, William Hickman, Ambrose Dudley, Joseph 
Redding and many other illustrious pioneers of the cross, in 
Kentucky, and then lived to thrill the hearts of the ministers of 
the present generation, with his words of encouragement, in 
the great centennial convention that met at Louisville, in 1876. 

William Vaughan was born in Westmoreland county, Penn- 
sylvania, February 22, 1785. His father, John Vaughan, and 
his grandfather were born in New Jersey. His great grand- 
father was born in Wales, and was a Baptist deacon. John 
Vaughan emigrated to Kentucky, and settled in Scott county, 
in 1788. He was a Baptist. William was sent to school nine 
months, in his eighth year. At this school, he made a very un- 
promising beginning, in preaching. During playtime, one day, 
Dick Applegate, Dick McClure and Green Roberts, agreed to 
preach. The gutter of a stick and dirt chimney was their 
pulpit. Applegate preached first. The full text of his sermon 
was this: "If all the men in the world were one big man, and 
all the axes in the world were one big ax, and all the trees in 
the world were one big tree, and all the rivers in the world 
were one big river, and that mighty man should take that 
mighty ax, and cut down that mighty tree into that mighty 
river, there would be a mighty sUsJl slosh." Roberts followed, 
and preached the same sermon. McClure preached next. 
His sermon was: "Oh what a cruel place hell is !" "I thought 
their preaching very foolish," said Mr. Vaughan, "and I deter- 
mined to do better. " The following is the full text of Vaughan's 
sermon: "Boys, if 'you break the Sabbath, or tell stories,* or 
swear ; or don't mind your mammy and daddy, or don't mind 
your books, and be good boys, you will die and go to hell — a 
lake of blue blazes, burning with fire and brimstone. And when 
you ask for water the devil will melt lead in a ladle, and pour 
it down your throat." The sermon was not a bad one, for a 
boy under eight years of age. But it was a costly one to the 

^Meaning Falsehoods. 

220 Histoiy of Kentucky Baptists . 

young preacher. The ignorant and brutal teacher flogged him 
so severely for preaching it, that he carried the marks twelve 
months. He attended this school without shoes or hat. He 
commenced at the alphabet, and learned to read the Bible, which 
was his school book, with some facility, at this school. At 
about the age of ten years, he went to school three months. 
After this, he attended night writing school, two weeks, and 
again, at the age of fifteen years, he went to a writing school 
thirteen nights. He labored with his father, who was a farmer, 
and a tanner, till his father's death, which occurred in Novem- 
ber, 1795. After the death of his father, he labored on the 
farm three years, aiding his mother in supporting a family ot 
five daughters and four sons. One of the latter was his twin 

At the age of eighteen years, young Vaughan apprenticed 
himself to Lawson McCullough, a tailor, in Lexington, where 
he remained four years. At the close of his apprenticeship, he 
married Miss Lydia Wing Allen, a native of New Bedford, 
Massachusetts, -and the only daughter of Elisha Allen, then 
of Lexington, Kentucky. She had been raised in the faith of 
the Quakers. Soon after his marriage, Mr. Vaughan estab- 
lished himself as a tailor, in Winchester, his wife assisting him 
in his business. They were very poor, and had to labor very 
hard to make a living. 

This was the period of infidelity, in Kentucky. Tom 
Paine's Age of Reason was extensively circulated, and was very 
popular. Deism was the fashionable religion of the day. Most 
of the professional men, and such others as desired, to make 
the impression that they were wise, or learned, avowed them- 
selves, infidels. Mr. Vaughan was fond of reading, and had a 
great thirst for knowledge. He procured the writings of Paine 
and Volney, and, after reading them, professed infidelity, and 
joined an infidel club, in Winchester. He ceased going to re- 
ligious meeting, and became recklessly profane. Like many 
other towns, at that period, Winchester had no place of wor- 
ship. Even Louisville had no house of worship, at that time. 
Mr. Vaughan joined the infidel club, merely for the pleasure 
and the social and intellectual advantages he expected to de- 
rive from it. " I never expected, " said he, "to die in that 

William Vaiighan. 221 

faith." Mr. Vaughan relates his experience of that period, as 

" Tn August, 1 8 10, I and four or five others went to see a 
sick man of the name of Buchanan. He was a profane, wicked 
man. When we reached his house, he was breathing loud and 
hard. I looked at him, and saw that he must die and be lost. 
Then the thought occurred to me, that, if I did not change my 
course, I must be lost. I determined, then, to change my 
course, and become a religious man. I then thought, if I be- 
came a Christian, I would be disgraced, and my infidel friends 
would abandon me. Upon this reflection, I resolved to seek 
religion, become a Christian, live a religious life, and go to 
heaven, without anyone's knowing it. The next reflection was, 
' What if I am disgraced ? I am an obscure individual, and un- 
known.' Then came the thought, ' I am a deist, and do not 
believe the Bible.' I determined to read the Bible. Accident- 
ally I opened at the sermon on the mount. I read to the pass- 
age; ' Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil 
not, neither do they spin, yet I say unto you that Solomon in 
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ' ' This is too 
beautiful and sublime,' I exclaimed, 'to be of man. It must 
be divine.' I retired to a secret place to pray. But a thou- 
sand vain, sinful, and foolish thoughts rushed into my mind. 
I sought a more retired place, laid my face on the ground, and 
again tried to pray, but with no better success. Here, for the 
first time, I realized the depravity of my heart. I did not re- 
solve to keep the law, for I was too ignorant to know that God 
had a law. But I felt exceedingly sinful and unworthy, and 
realized that God was a holy being, and I a sinful creature, and 
that I and he could not dwell together, except I be changed. 

" I kept all my troubles to myself. I formed the habit ot 
asking a blessing, mentally, at my table, and continued retiring 
to secret places to pray, especially after dark. One night, af- 
ter trying to pray, I sat down on a log, and soliloquized after 
the following manner : ' I was raised by pious parents. After 
leaving my mother's home, I was thrown into a religious family, 
where family worship was kept up. How good has God been 

'■Taken down from his lips by the author. 

222 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

to me. How wicked I have been, to sin against ' so good a 

' ' Two weeks after my distress began, I had a remarkable 
dream. I thought I was on the farm my father died on. I had - 
a vision of hell. I saw the smoke of the torment of the damned, : 
ascending up out of the open crater of a mound. Then I seemed 
to be at a place in the v/oods where there was a collection of 
people, and several ministers preaching. About a week after 
this, on Sabbath morning, I was sitting in my door, pensive 
and disconsolate, when I saw a company of people walking by. 
On inquiring, I learned that they were going to meeting; at an 
old log Baptist meeting house called Rocky Spring, about three 
miles distant. I joined the company, and went with them. 
As we walked along, a very wicked old man remarked to me, 
that, every six or seven years, a portion of the people went off 
from the world and became religious. If I ever prayed from 
my heart, it was as I walked to that meeting. A man by the 
name of Leathers got up to preach. I had never seen him be- 
fore. When he rose up I recognized him as the man I had 
seen in my dream — even to the minutia of his dress. George 
Eve followed him, preaching from the text: 'Ye must be born 
again.' All he said was an incomprehensible mystery tome. 
James Quisenberry followed him from the text: 'The great, 
day of of his wrath has come and who shall be able to stand ?' 
He described the various outpourings of God's wrath, frequent- 
ly repeating the words, 'who shall be able to stand?' each, 
time I would say mentally: 'I shall not be able to stand.' 
At the close of his sermon, he invited the mourners to come 
forward and be prayed for. The thought occurred to me, * 1 
will not go up there and disgrace myself, I will go to the woods 
and pray, God can hear me there as well as here. ' The next 
thing I knew, I was on my knees, at the feet of the preachers," 
confessing my sins — especially my deism — and asking them to 
pray for me. They prayed. One woman near me cried out : 
'Oh my heart is so hard.' I felt that to be just my case. I 
begged them to pray for me again. They did not do so then. 
I cried aloud : 'Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.' 
One of my wicked companions was standing near me, unaf- 
fected. I warned him to flee from the wrath to come. My 
mental agony was so great that I was unable to stand on my 

William Vaughan. 223 

feet. I fell on the ground. My breathing became so hard that 
I could have been heard fifty yards. Two persons slapped the 
insides of my hands, and threw water in my face. After awhile 
I regained my strength and sat up, overwhelmed with a vivid 
sense of my exposure to the wrath of God. I sat there till the 
congregation had dispersed. A pious woman came to comfort 
me, but could give me no relieft 

" I continued in this state of guilt and shame a week. \ 
was in constant fear of meeting some of my oM companions. 
At last my fears were realized. As I passed the tavern, the tavern- 
keeper came out and said : ' Vaughan, I understand you are 
going to be a preacher, I shall lose a good customer. Come 
in and take a glass of wine and a game of cards.' I continued 
trying to pray. One dark night, after rising from my knees, I 
breathed into my hands, mentally exclaiming : ' Nothing but 
this breath keeps me out of hell.' I went to every meeting I 
could hear of, and asked every preacher I met, to pray for me. 
Once I walked six miles to hear Jeremiah Vardeman, and walked 
back without my dinner. My older brother, who had recently 
professed faith in Christ, hearing of my condition, came thirty 
miles to comfort me, but could give me no relief With my 
brother, I rode ten miles to hear Vardeman. Going home, I 
rode with my hands on the pommel of my saddle, choked with 
grief, and mourning as one who mourns for his first-born. My 
brother went home. Next day I was sitting in my room alone. 
It seemed to me that I cried every breath : ' Lord be merciful 
to me.' This continued a half hour. Suddenly the thought 
occurred : ' What a great change has come over me: Six weeks 
ago I could not utter a sentence without an oath ; now every 
breath is a prayer for mercy. ' Then this text occurred to me : 
' Ye have received the spirit of adoption whereby ye cry Abba, 
Father.' In a moment it seemed to me that the blood of 
Christ overwhelmed me, and I felt that my burden and dis- 
tress were gone. I felt such a love for Jesus Christ, that I 
thought, if he was on earth, and I could get hold of his feet, 
I would press them, to my bosom. Still I did not love him 
as I wished to. I went out into the fields, and spent the 
rest of the day in prayer, praise and rejoicing. I felt that 
God had been merciful to me, but could not tell how. Relief 
came not as expected. I thought all my exercises should 

224 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

have been more intense. I prayed for the return of my bur- 
den, and continued to have alternate doubts and hopes, till the 
third Saturday in October — about two weeks after I obtained 
hope — when I went to Friendship church, related the dealings 
of God with my soul, and was approved for baptism. Next 
day, the third Sunday in October, i8lO, I was baptized by 
James Quesenberry. " 

That night Mr. Vaughan set up family worship, and soon 
afterward began to pray in public and exhort. James Sug- 
get induced him to make an effort to preach, but he made a 
sad failure, and was so much discouraged, that he felt he 
would rather "the Lord would kill him, than compel him to 
preach." Still he felt a great desire to preach, if he had the 

On Saturday before the third Sunday in February, 1811, 
the church at Friendship licensed to preach, James Haggard, 
Anson Mills, Ninnian Ridgeway and William Vaughan. Mr. 
Vaughan made many discouraging failures, in his attempts to 
preach, but persevered in his efforts, until he was deemed 
worthy of ordination. Meanwhile, he felt the deficiency of 
his education so sensibly that he determined to apply himself 
to study. He procured a few books, among which was Walk- 
er's dictionary, and devoted as much of his time as he could to 
the improvement of his education. 1 

On the third Sunday in July, 1812, he was ordained at" 
Lulbegrud church, in Montgomery county, by Jeremiah Var- 
deman and David Chenault. He had previously accepted a call 
to the care of a church, called Sycamore, in Montgomery 
county. To this church he preached a little more than two 
years. For this service he received ten dollars, one of which 
he lost by being thrown from his horse, while returning home, 
one dark night. 

In the Fall of 1814, he was sent as a corresponding mes- 
senger to Bracken Association, and, for the first time, was 
appointed to preach on Sunday, at an association. From thf 
Association he sent out a list of appointments, and, in filling 
them received fifty dollars. With many of the preachers of his 
day, he had entertained a strong prejudice against receivin| 
money lor preaching. But he was now very poor, and thf 
comforts procured for his family for this fifty dollars, healed all 

William Vaiiglian. 225 

his former prejudices on that subject. It was during this trip 
to Bracken Association, that he first met that eminent man of 
God, Walter Warder, between whom and himself grew up a 
warm and lasting friendship. 

Late in the same fall, Mr, Vaughan made a second visit 
to the churches in Bracken Association, and received a hundred 
dollars for his services. The next Spring he moved to Mason 
county, to take the care of Lees Creek church. He preached 
to this church once a month without a salary, working at his 
trade for the support of his family. The church gave him about 
thirty dollars a year. About the year 18 17, there grew up some 
doctrinal differences in the church at Lees Creek. The dissension 
had been caused by an old preacher named William Grinstead. 
A part of the church desired to have Mr. Grinstead preach for 
them once a month. Mr. Vaughan favored their purpose, and 
he was invited accordingly. He preached what was popularly 
called Antinomianism to them, but as the church paid him noth- 
ing for his services, he soon withdrew. He soon drew off from 
Bracken Association three churches, Maysville, Stonelick and 
Richland. He was afterwards excluded from Maysville church 
for drunkenness. 

In the fall of 18 16, Mr. Vaughan, with the help of an old 
preacher of the name of Charles Anderson, constituted a church 
of seven members at Augusta. The same evening, a woman 
was approved for baptism. Next morning Mr. Vaughan bap- 
tized her, and, on the occasion, delivered a half hour's lecture 
on baptism. The lecture convinced a family of Presbyterians of 
the scripturalness of immersion, and they were soon afterward 

In 181 8, Mr. Vaughan moved to Augusta, where he taught 
school, and continued to preach to the church at that place, of 
which he had been pastor from its constitution. While Mr. 
Vaughan was preaching in Augusta, the Presbyterians called to 
the pastorate of their church there, William L. McCalla. He 
soon displayed his controversial qualities by preaching a sermon 
on baptism, and challenging Mr. Vaughan to defend his doctrines. 
Mr. Vaughan preached a sermon on the subject of baptism two- 
and-three-quarter hours long. Mr. McCalla afterward called on 
him for the notes of his sermon by which he had ' ' converted 
all the infidels in town to his views." Mr. McCalla afterwards 

226 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

preached another sermon on baptism, in which he used some 
bitter language, which caused some ill feelings between the Bap- 
tists and Presbyterians of the town. In the year 1817, an exten- 
sive revival visited Augusta, and about fifty persons were added 
to the Baptist church. 

Mr. Vaughan continued to preach to the churches at Augusta 
and Lees Creek, till the fall of 1828, when he moved to West 
Liberty, Ohio. At this place, he remained only a year, which 
he regarded the gloomiest and most unfruitful year of his ministry. 
In the fall of 1829, he moved back to Mason county, Kentucky. 
During his absence, an extensive revival had taken place. Wal- 
ter Warder, who was the principal laborer in this work, had 
baptized four hundred and eighty persons into the fellowship of 
Mayslick church, and more than a thousand in the bounds of 
Bracken Association, in one year. ^ " Campbellism had become 
a raging epidemic." The part Mr. Vaughan took in this con- 
test, may be seen in a sketch of the life of Walter Warder, in a 
preceding chapter. 

On the first Saturday in September, 1830, the Bracken 
Association met at Washington in Mason county. Mr. Vaughan 
was elected Moderator. Up to this time, there had been no 
formal division of the Baptists and Campbellites. The associa- 
tion passed a resolution, recommending the withdrawal of fellow- 
ship from all who adhered to the peculiar tenets of A. Campbell. 
This called forth the bitter denunciations of the leading Camp- 
bellites, against Mr. Vaughan. Burnett attacked him through 
his paper ; Creath assailed him through the columns of the 
Budget, and Campbell, in the Millennial Harbiiiger. But 
"the Bracken Moderator," as Mr. Campbell derisively styled 
him, was equal to any emergency that arose out of this struggle. 
Mr. Vaughan was now in his forty-fifth year, and, though not 
so learned as Mr. Campbell, was his superior in acuteness of 
discrimination and powers of logic. He dissected Mr. Campbell's 
system with a masterly hand, drew the line between it and the 
doctrine of the Baptists, and made open war upon the new 

After his return from Ohio, Mr. Vaughan accepted the pas- 
toral care of the churches at Falmouth, Carhsle, and Bethel, 

^History of Mayslick Church, p. 15. 

William Vaiighan. 227 

the last named of which he and Waher Warder had constituted 
in Fleming county, about the year 1825. In 1830, he purchased 
a small farm in Fleming county, to which he soon afterwards 
moved. Next year he accepted the position of general agent 
of the American Sunday-school Union for northern Ken- 
tucky. He continued in this work about thirty months, in con- 
nection with his pastoral labors at Carlisle and Bethel, during 
which time he organized about one hundred Sunday-schools. 

In the fall of 1835, he accepted the general agency of the 
American and Foreign Bible Society for the State of Kentucky. 
He had occupied this position only six months when the Bap- 
tists drew off from that society, and formed an independent 
organization. Mr. Vaughan immediately resigned his position. 
While engaged in the work ef the Bible Society, he visited 
Bloomfield. The church at this place invited him to settle 
among its members, and preach to them in connection with their 
aged pastor, Isaac Taylor. This invitation he accepted, and, at 
once prepared to move to his new field of labor. Mr. Taylor 
continued to preach to the church once a month, till some time 
the next year, when he resigned. 

Mr. Vaughan moved his family to Bloomfield, in June, 1836. 
At the time of his removal he says : "I was oppressed with 
deep melancholy, and dreadful forebodings." Ten days after 
his arrival, his daughter, Ann, a beautiful and highly accom- 
plished young lady, eighteen years of age, died, a short time 
before she was to have married. She was not a professor of 
religion, which added to the distress of her parents. 

Mr. Vaughan purchased a small farm near Bloomfield, on 
which he lived, until he became too old to attend to it com- 
fortably, and then moved into the village. He preached two 
Sundays in the month at Bloomfield, from June, 1836, till 
June 1868, when he was disabled by a fall, and resigned his 
charge. In 1838, Mr. Taylor having resigned, Mr. Vaughan 
was installed in the pastoral office at Bloomfield. Besides his 
labors at this place, he preached to other churches within his 
reach, so as to fill up all his time. In the fall of 1836, he 
accepted a call to preach once a month to the church at 
Elizabethtown, for one year. During the year, he baptized 
twenty-five, among whom was the lamented A. W. LaRue. 
In the fall of 1837, he preached on Sunday, during the sitting 

228 Histoiy of Kentucky Baptists, 

of Salem Association, at Bethlehem church in Washington 
county, from the text : ' ' How shall we escape if we neglect 
so great salvation." The effect on the people was so great, 
that it was determined to protract the meeting a few days, 
This was done, and forty were added to the church. In the 
summer of the same year, he went to Harrodsburg, and 
preached several sermons. In the following fall, he went 
back, and was aided by John Rice and John S. Higgins, in 
constituting a church of sixteen members, in that town. To 
this church he preached, one Sunday in the month, five years 
from its constitution. About a hundred were added to its 
membership, and a good house of worship was built, during the 

Some years before Mr. Vaughan moved to Bloomfield, 
Thos. J. Fisher and Jordan Walker constituted a church at 
Lawrenceburg. Mr. Walker became its pastor ; but, in 1837, 
he joined the Anti-missionary Baptists, taking a large number 
of the members with him. In the confusion, a number of the 
members joined the Campbellites. To the remnant of this 
church, Mr. Vaughan commenced preaching once a month, in 
1837. He preached about seven years. About sixty were 
baptized. Among them were Thomas M. Vaughan, Robert R. 
Lillard, and William Blair, allof whom became Baptist preachers. 
Mr. Vaughan preached one year to the church at Shepherdsville, 
about 1840. In 1842, Mrs. Vaughan visited her daughter in 
Elizaville, Ky. She was in delicate health when she started, 
and continued to grow feebler till the 20th of September, when 
she died. Mr. Vaughan was on his way to Elizaville, to bring 
her home. When he got within ten miles of that village, he 
learned that she was dead and buried. The good man was 
overwhelmed with grief But he sorrowed not as those who 
have no hope, for he; doubted not that she was at rest. 

May 30, 1843, Mr. Vaughan, married for his second wife 
Mrs. Malinda H. Cain, widow of Major James Cain, and daugh- 
ter of William McKay, of Nelson county. This marriage was a 
most happy one. This lady was an excellent Christian 
woman, and by her industry, prudence and economy saved to 
her husband, who was but a poor financier, a sufficiency of this 
world's goods to make them comfortable, in their helpless old age. 

In 1845 Mr. Vaughan was called to the pastoral care oi 

William VaugJian. 229 

Little Union church, in Spencer county. Here he preached 
once a month, a few years, and then began to preach there two 
Sundays in the month. 

From this time till he was too old and infirm to go in and out 
before his people, the faithful and beloved old shepherd divided 
his time equally between Bloomfield and Little Union churches, 
which were located six miles apart. While he preached to Lit- 
tle Union church only once a month, he preached monthly at 
Buck Creek, in Shelby county, into the fellowship of which he 
baptized thirty-six members. 

In June, 1868, Mr. Vaughan, then in his eighty-fourth 
year, fell and crushed his hip. This rendered him unable to at- 
tend to pastoral labors, and he resigned his charges. Two years 
after this, his faithful wife fell and crushed her hip in a very sim- 
ilar manner to that of her husband. In a few weeks afterwards, 
she went to receive the reward of the righteous. 

Mr. Vaughan, now old and feeble, went to live with his son. 
Elder T. M. Vaughan. He kept up his habit of regular study 
as long as he was able to sit a portion of the day in an easy chair, 
and preached when his health would permit. In the Centennial 
Convention, in May, 1876, he made two or three short 
speeches. On the 25th of February, 1877, he preached his last 
sermon, in the Baptist meeting-house at Danville, Kentucky. 
On the 31st of March following, at 4:30 P. M., he fell asleep in 
Jesus. His remains were carried to Bloomfield, where they 
were buried near the pulpit in which he had preached thirty- 
two years. 

Truly a great prince had fallen in Israel. Of him, J. M. 
Pendleton says: "I have heard the great preachers, so-called, 
in the East and West and North and South, but * * * * 
I have heard no man superior to Dr. Vaughan, in his palmiest 
days." J. M. Weaver says of him: "As a theologian, he had 
no superior in Kentucky." These testimonies were just. For 
many years, he was the ablest preacher in the Kentucky pul- 
pit. But far above this shone the more exalted qualities of 
purity, piety and consecration to the cause of his divine Mas- 
ter. But, at last he rests from his labors and his works do fol- 
low him.* 

*His son, Elder T. M. Vaughan, has published a neat volume of 336 
pages of " Memoirs of William Vaughan." 

230 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

J. M. Weaver was the last preacher hcensed in Bloomfield 
church. In his youth Mr. Weaver joined the Methodist church 
and was immersed, upon a profession of his faith, by a Metho- 
dist preacher. He was received into Bloomfield church "on 
his Methodist baptism," and licensed to preach June, 12, 1852. 
Soon after this, having been ordained, he accepted a call to the 
pastorate of Taylorsville and Plum Creek churches, in Spencer 
county. After some years he accepted a call to the pastorate of 
Chestnut Street church, in Louisville, of which he has been the 
able, beloved and successful pastor for about a dozen years. 
The irregularity of his baptism continued to be a subject of much 
discussion and no little dissatisfaction among churches, till the 
5th of July, 1879, when he was regularly baptized by Elder James 
P. Boyce. 

Crab Orchard church, formerly called Cedar Creek, was con- 
stituted of forty members, by William Marshall, in 1791. These 
members had been dismissed from Gilberts Creek church for that 
purpose. William Bledsoe was chosen pastor. An extensive revi- 
val prevailed in this locality, from 1789 to 1792. It commenced in 
Gilberts Creek church and extended to the bounds of Cedar Creek. 
To the former church about 400 members were added, and the 
latter shared largely in the ingathering after it was constituted. 

Among those who united with Cedar Creek church, were 
three sons of John Vardeman — Amaziah, Morgan and Jeremiah. 
The last named became one of the most distinguished preachers 
that has ever labored in Kentucky. Mr. Bledsoe preached to 
the church but a short time, before he became a Universalist. 

Jeremiah Vardeman was probably the next pastor from 1802 
to 1 8 10. In 1808, the church agreed to change its name from 
Cedar Creek to Crab Orchard, having built a new house of worship 
in the village of that name. In 18 10 Mr. Vardeman resigned the 
pastoral care of the church, and took from the church a letter of 

In August of the same year, Moses Foley accepted the care 
of this church, and soon afterwards moved into its bounds. Un- 
der Mr. Foley's administration it was very prosperous. At one 
time it contained about 400 members. Mr. Foley continued 
pastor of this church till near the time of his death, which oc- 
curred in 1858. After this, John S. Higgins supplied the church 
with preaching for a time. During the Civil War, the church be- 

William Bledsoe, 231 

came much scattered and demoralized. After the close of the 
war, John James, then of Columbia, but more recently of Paris. 
Texas, took charge of the church for a short time. When Mr. 
James came among the membership its number was less than 
forty. The Lord blessed his labors and a goodly number were 
baptized. The church became quite prosperous again under the 
care of N. B. Johnson. 

William Bledsoe, the first pastor of Crab Orchard church, 
was the son of Joseph Bledsoe, the founder and first pastor of old 
Gilberts Creek church of Separate Baptists. He, with his father 
and brothers, was among the early settlers of what is now Gar- 
rard county. He was a brother of the distinguished Judge Jesse 
Bledsoe, who served two terms in the United States Senate from 

William Bledsoe was a native of Culpeper county, Virginia. 
He was probably raised up to the ministry, under the preaching 
of his father, in Gilberts Creek church, after he came to Ken- 
tucky. He was the most active laborer in that wonderful revival 
in Lincoln and Garrard counties, in 1789, and the years follow- 
ing. He was in the constitution of Cedar Creek church, at 
Crab Orchard, in 1791, and became the first pastor of this church. 
During the revival just referred to, in 1789, two hen's eggs were 
brought to Gilberts Creek meeting-house with this sentence 
written on them: "The day of God's awful judgment is near." 
It was pretended that this writing was on the eggs when they 
were found in the nest. " Elder W. Bledsoe," says 
Mr. Boulware, "read aloud. The people were alarmed. Elder 
Bledsoe professed to feel alarmed, preached, exhorted, warned, 
invited, etc., etc. This revival lasted several months. I have 
seen from five to twenty come up, or led up, to be prayed for 
atone time. There were about 400 added to the church." * 
"He" [William Bledsoe], says John M. Peck, "was a smart, 
rather than a pious preacher." John Bailey, who was one of the 
laborers in this revival, subsequently became a Universalist. 
Bledsoe also apostatized to Universalism, and then became indif- 
ferent to a religious life and reckless in his conduct. " Elder W. 
Bledsoe," says Mr. Boulware, "and many of his converts em- 
braced the doctrine of universal salvation, and soon after he be- 

*Autobi. of T. Boulware, p, 3. 

232 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

came a deist, and died a practicing horse-racer. I continued an 
acquaintance with these converts for eight or nine years, and then 
knew not of one that had not, Hke the dog and sow, turned to 
their vomit and mire again. " Such were the fruits of this shame- 
ful fraud and hypocrisy, and the end of the man who practiced 
them. "God is not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth that 
shall he reap." 

Jeremiah Vardeman was the second pastor of Crab Or- 
chard Church. He was probably the most effective pulpit or- 
ator, and the most successful preacher that ever lived in Ken- 
tucky. His father was a Swede, his mother a native of Wales. 
John Vardeman, sr., with his young family, emigrated from Swe- 
den to South Carolina, in the early part of the i8th century. 
He was a member of the Lutheran church, but joined the Epis- 
copal church, in South Carolina, and was esteemed for his piety 
and moral worth. His descendants reported that he died at the 
age of one hundred and twenty-five years. 

His son, John Vardeman, jr., was also born in Sweden. 
He came with his parents to South Carolina when he was seven 
years old. He married Elizabeth Morgan, a native of Wales, 
in South Carolina. Soon after his marriage, he moved to Bed- 
ford county, Virginia. While living here, he and his wife pro- 
fessed religion and united with a Baptist church. 

About 1767, he moved farther west, and settled on New 
river, and, ten years later, pushed still farther into the south- 
west corner of Virginia, and settled on Clinch river in what is 
now Russell county. Here he was compelled to move into a 
fort to protect his family from the Indians. But he did not 
long remain here. Again he moved on westward, and, in the 
fall of 1779, settled in Lincoln county, Kentucky, near the 
present town of Crab Orchard. This was two years before Lewis 
Craig settled on Gilberts creek, with his traveling church. 

Here John Vardeman and his older sons were compelled to 
take part in the numerous wars with the Indians, that gave ex- 
citing and hazardous employment to the early settlers, for a 
period of nearly twenty years after his settlement in Kentucky. 
But he did not become indifferent to his religion. 

He kept up family worship, and, when a church was organ- 
ized near him, became a member of it. He and his wife were 
probably members of old Gilberts Creek church, and it is cer- 

Jeremiah Vardeman. 233 

tain that they were at an early period, members of the church 
at Crab Orchard, where many of their children afterwards became 

The old pioneer remained near Crab Orchard, till 18 12, 
when the country became too thickly settled to suit his habits 
of life, and he became restless and discontented, and again 
turned his face towards the setting sun. In October of that 
year, the church at Crab Orchard entered on its book of 
records an order, "that old John Vardeman have a letter of 
dismission." The term "old" was designed to distinguish him 
from his son, of the same name. With this evidence of his 
fellowship with the children of God, he moved to Missouri, 
where he died at the age of 109 years. 

Jeremiah Vardeman was the youngest of twelve children 
born to John and Elizabeth Vardeman, and was born in Wythe 
county, Virginia, July 8, 1775. He came with his parents to 
Lincoln county, Ky., in the fall of 1779. Here he was raised 
up to manhood, in "the deep tangled wildwood, " amid the 
constant dangers and privations of a frontier settlement, re- 
ceiving barely education enough to enable him to read, write 
and exercise in the simplest elements of arithmetic. After long 
continued and pungent convictions of sin, during which period 
his father and mother were his principal comforters and in- 
structors, he obtained hope in Christ, about the year 1792. 
He immediately united with the church at Crab Orchard, and 
was baptized, probably by William Bledsoe, who was then pastor 
of that church. This was during the revival referred to above,, 
conducted by the Bledsoes, John Bailey and Peyton Nowlen. 
Mr. Vardeman always asserted that the preaching of these men 
had nothing to do with the awakening of his conscience. He 
was under conviction three months, during which the instruc- 
tions of his parents, the prayers of his father, and his own 
reading of the Bible deeply impressed him. 

When Mr. Vardeman, then about seventeen years of age,, 

realized the joys of salvation, he felt strongly impressed with 

the duty of warning sinners of their danger, and exhorting 

them to flee the wrath to come. This feeling preyed on his 

nind till he felt that he must preach. But many apparently in- 

urmountable obstacles appeared in his way. He was young, 

imid, had not the gift of speech, and was uneducated. Still 

234 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

the subject bore heavily on his conscience. But he continued 
to resist the impressions till they measurably wore oft"! He 
continued very comfortably in the church, about two years, dur- 
ing which time he habitually prayed in secret, but did not at- 
tempt to pray or exhort in public. This was doubtless more 
the fault of the church and its unfaithful pastor, than of the 
young convert. 

It is a sad truth, that many of our churches lose the talent, 
zeal, and influence of a large number of their best young mem- 
bers, by giving them nothing to do, in the Master's service. 
Every young church member should be proved, to ascertain 
his gifts, as soon as he becomes a member, and then be diligent- 
ly employed in the work of the Lord, in accordance with his 
gifts. The pastor that fails to do this, is either incompetent to 
fill his position, or unfaithful to his charge. 

Had young Vardeman been prudently brought forward in 
public prayer and exhortation, immediately after he joined the 
church, it would, no doubt, have saved five years of his invalua- 
ble services to the cause of Christ, and himself from piercing his 
own soul through with many bitter sorrows. But this was neg- 
lected, he gradually wandered off into sin, and brought reproach 
on himself and the cause of Christ. 

Some of his young associates made persistent efforts to draw 
him into the circles of frivolity. They finally succeeded by a 
misapplication of Scripture language, in convincing him that it 
was "no harm to dance," so far as to induce him to attend "a 
frolic," "just one time." He went once. Then again, and 
again, and finally engaged in the giddy dance. About this time 
Col. William Whitley, the well known pioneer and daring Indian 
fighter, permitted a dancing school to be taught in a large ball 
room, fitted up in the third story of his fine new residence.* 
*'The young people were crazy about the dancing school. 
Young Vardeman was induced to subscribe himself a scholar,! 
though, as he acknowledged, with a trembling hand and a smittenj 
conscience. He was, of course excluded from the church. Hf 

*In 1879 the author visited this ancient residence, which was still iu 
good state of preservation. It was located one and one-half miles west ol 
Crab Orchard, and was occupied hy the aged and pious Widow Peningtor 
>once a ward of Morgan Vardeman, brother of Jere. 

Jeremiah Vmdenian. 235 

soon afterward bought a violin, and, having a taste for music, be- 
came "a good fiddler." During this period, he became enamor- 
ed with Miss Elizabeth James, daughter of Richard James, and, 
became engaged to her. Her parents were pious members of 
Cedar Creek church, and, regarding Vardeman as a vain, frivolous 
young man, opposed the match. The result was an elopement 
and marriage. The young wife had made no profession of reli- 
gion. Her parents had the good judgment to perceive that fur- 
ther opposition would be useless ; they forgave the delinquents, 
and, with young, moved to Pulaski county, on the 
waters of Cumberland river. 

"There Vardeman became the leader of the young people 
in every species of mirth and amusement. None could sing and 
play on the violin so enchantingly, none so jovial and full of hilar- 
ity as Jeremiah Vardeman. He was the life and soul of every 
dance and country frolic, and his young wife, much to the grief 
of her father and mother, joined him in all these recreations. 
Thus nearly three years of his life passed away to no useful pur- 
pose. In a worldly sense he was not immoral. He never swore 
profanely, was temperate in drink ; kind-hearted, generous and 
honorable in all his dealings with his fellow-men ; his duty to God 
was wholly neglected, and he lived after the course of this world. 
Yet he was not a happy man. In the midst of his associates, in 
gayety, music and dancing, he was full of enjoyment; but con- 
science was then stifled. There were seasons of mental disquiet- 
ude which none can realize, but those who have drunk the worm- 
wood and gall, after a season of backsliding. Conviction of his 
sin and folly often drove him back to sinful pleasures for tempor- 
ary relief.* 

His religious friends with the exception of his mother, had 
given him up, believing he would go on the downward course to 
the end. She continued in persevering prayer and unwavering 
faith, saying. with deep emotion: "I know Jerry will be re- 
claimed ; God is faithful, and I feel assured that he is a prayer 
hearing God." 

There lived in Pulaski county a plain, illiterate preacher of 
the name of Thomas Hansford. He was an earnest, self-sacrific- 
ing man, and had the confidence of the people. Mr. Vardeman 

^J. M. Peck in Chris. Eep. Aug. 1854. p. 463. 

236 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

sometimes attended his meetings with his wife. On one of these 
occasions, Mr, Hansford preached from 2 Pet. 2:22: ''Buttt is 
happened to them accoi'dmg to the tnie provefb. The dog ts turned 
to his own vomit again and the sow that was washed to her wallow- 
ing ill the mire." He applied the text to those who had professed 
religion and afterwards apostatized. The Spirit of God directed 
the truth with great pungency, to the conscience of Mr. Var- 
deman. He was deeply convicted of his backslidings. In 
speaking of it to Mr. Peck, many years afterwards, he said: "If 
brother Hansford had poured coals of fire on my naked body, 
it would not have burned me worse than that sermon did." His 
wife was convicted of her sins at the same time. They both 
went home with heavy hearts. Mr. Vardeman could not labor. 
For several days he spent most of his time in the woods, some 
times on his knees, and sometimes prostrate on his face, confess- 
ing his sins and crying to God for mercy. He repented bitterly 
of all his sinful frivolity, but his deepest conviction was for that 
sin which caused him to turn back to the world and commit all 
his other sins, his refusal to follow the impression of the Holy 
Spirit to preach the gospel, or call sinners to repentance. In his 
penitent anguish he cried out : " Lord, what wilt thou have me 
to do ? I will do anything the Lord requires, if it kills me. He 
obtained some relief in reading and meditating on Malachi 4:2. 
" But unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteous- 
ness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go forth and 
grow up as calves of the stall." He now vowed to the Lord that 
he would forsake all vain and worldly amusements and preachy 
the gospel to his fellow-men. 

A prayer meeting had been appointed at the cabin of one 
of Mr. Vardeman' s neighbors. He with his wife attended this 
meeting the night after he had made the solemn vow just recorded. \ 
There was no preacher present, but there was so much interest 
felt that the people attended for several miles distant. It had 
been extensively rumored, without his knowledge, that Varde 
man would preach. Before the meeting closed, one of Mr.j 
Vardeman's neighbors, who was aware of his recent seriousnes 
on the subject of religion, invited him to speak. He arose and 
commenced talking, but retained nothing of what he said, in his 
memory. He only recollected that the people of all classes 
were weeping and sobbing around him. Another social meeting 


Jeremiah Vardeman. 237 

was appointed for the next Sabbath. Mr. Vardeman again at- 
tended. He waited for older persons to take the lead, after 
which he rose up and with deep feeling and tears gushing from 
his eyes, delivered an exhortation, mingled with confessions of 
his own backslidings, and calling on his young associates to for- 
sake their sinful amusements and follow Christ, and assuring 
them that they would then feel what he now felt — peace of con- 
science, and salvation through the blood and righteousness of 
Jesus Christ. To his surprise and amazement, young and old 
were crowding forward to give him their hands, and crying out: 
"Oh Mr. Vardeman pray for me, for I am a heap bigger smnQY 
than you ever was." There were probably a score of people 
standing around him, and begging him to pray for them. He 
had never attempted to pray in public, but he thought of the 
vow he had recently made to the Lord, and he attempted to pray, 
for the first time in the hearing of others. 

These social meetings were continued in a similar manner 
on each succeeding Sabbath, and two or three times in the week, 
except that Mr. Vardeman began to invite the people forward 
for prayer. Soon many of his former associates in sin gave evi- 
dence of conversion, and among the first was his wife. 

News of the revival, of Mr. Vardeman's change, and of his 
preaching, as the people called it, soon reached Lincoln county. 
His parents, brothers and friends urged him to visit them. His 
first discourse there was solemn and effective. He seemed to 
want neither words nor matter. The church at Cedar Creek re- 
stored him to membership, and licensed him to preach. He 
preached several times in the neighborhood of Crab Orchard. 
The multitudes came out to hear him. In a short time upwards 
of twenty of his former associates in Lincoln county, and mem- 
bers of the dancing school that led him astray, professed con- 

Mr. Vardeman was probably ordained in 1801, and the 
next year, moved back from Pulaski to Lincoln county, where 
he became pastor of four churches. He remained in this region 
of the State about eight years. Few particulars of his labors of 
this period have been preserved. But it is known that he was 
active in the ministry, traveled extensively, and was very popu- 
lar and successful. The late Isaac Goodnight, Esq., of Warren 
county, who "cropped" with Mr. Vardeman in 1804, informed 

238 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Mr. Peck that he was, at that period, pastor of four churches, 
and that during the year he made a preaching tour to Lexing- 
ton, Maysville and several other places. 

In February, 1 8 10, he was called to the oversight of David's 
Fork church in Fayette county, and in the same year resigned 
the care of, and took a letter of dismission from Crab Orchard 
church, and moved on a farm within the bounds of David's 
Fork. Under his ministry a revival soon visited his new charge, 
and "within six months one hundred and seventy souls were 
added to the church."''' During another revival during his 
pastorate here in 1827—8 "upwards of two hundred precious 
souls were added to the church. " He was pastor of this church 
twenty years and five months. He was three years pastor of 
Lulbegrud and Grassy Lick churches, both in Montgomery 
county. During this period he baptized for the fellowship of 
the former, one hundred and sixty-five, and for that of the latter, 
ninety. In 181 1, he accepted a call to the pastorate of the Mis- 
sionary Baptist church at Bryant's Station, and occupied the 
position till 1830. 

Besides his pastoral labors, Mr. Vardeman was a very ac- 
tive and wonderfully successful evangelist in Kentucky and sev- 
eral of the adjoining states, for a period of nearly thirty years, 
before he moved to the West. In 18 15, he visited Bardstown, 
where "Priest Baden was unwise enough to enter the list against 
him and lost several of his members. Next year he held meet- 
ings in Lexington and Louisville. In 1820, he visited Nash- 
ville, Tennessee, and through his labors the first Baptist church 
in that city was constituted, and attained membership of one 
hundred and fifty by the first of the following October. 

In June, 1828, Mr. Vardeman held a series of meetings in 
Cincinnati, Ohio, which resulted in the baptism of 118 souls, in 
three weeks. These are only specimens of his abundant labors. 

In the fall of 1830, he resigned the charge of all his churches] 
and moved to Ralls county, Missouri. Here also, though ad-j 
vanced in years and grown corpulent, he did good service fori 
the Master for a number of years. With the assistance of Elder] 
Spencer Clack, who had recently moved from Bloomfield, Ken- 

*His. David's Fork ch. p. 9. 

Jeremiah Vardcnian. 239 

tucky, he constituted a church in Palmyra. Several other 
churches grew up under his ministry. 

In 1834, he presided in a meeting, convened for the pur- 
pose of organizing a system of domestic missions in the State. 
This organization grew into the General Association of Missouri 

But soon the infirmities of old age began to creep upon 
him. Still he labored on up to the measure of his strength. 
For two years before his death, he was unable to stand up to 
preach, but sat in a large arm-chair. Only two weeks before he 
was called from earth, in company with another preacher, he 
visited the Sulphur Springs, at Elk Lick, for the benefit of his 
health. Before they left they constituted a church. On this 
occasion, Mr. Vardeman baptized five candidates for that ordi- 
nance. This was the last service of the kind he ever performed. 
" He had then," says Mr. Peck, "baptized more Christian pro- 
fessors than any [other] man in the United States. As he kept 
no register of these and other labors, the accurate number can 
never be ascertained ; probably not less than eight thousand 

The last Sunday he spent on earth, he attended the ap- 
pointment of another preacher, not far from his residence. 
After the sermon he spoke a half hour from the words : "How 
shall we escape if we neglect so great Salvation." He was, at that 
time free from pain, but during the week he grew worse, though 
little alarm was felt by his family. But on Saturday morning, 
May 28, 1842, he called his family around him, gave them some 
directions, bade them farewell, and gently fell asleep in Jesus, 
all within fifteen minutes. He was in the sixtv-seventh year of 
his age. 

In person Jeremiah Vardeman was handsome, command- 
ing and attractive. Mr. Peck says of him, in his latter years : 
"His usual weight was three hundred pounds, yet his muscular 
frame was well proportioned, and his personal appearance 
graceful and commanding. His voice was powerful, sonorous 
and clear, his enunciation distinct, and he could be heard in the 
open air for a great distance." 

In doctrine he agreed with Andrew Fuller. In preaching, 
he was plain, simple and unaffected, yet wonderfully charming 
and attractive, pleasing alike the learned and illiterate. He 

240 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

was not what is termed a doctrinal preacher, and still less a 
controversialist. His descriptive powers were unrivaled, and 
in the force and power of his exhortation, he was probably 
never surpassed. In the whole manner of his preaching, he 
probably resembled the famous George Whitfield more than any 
other known orator.* 

Moses Foley was the third pastor of Crab Orchard church. 
He was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost, and by him 
much people were added to the Lord. He possessed only 
moderate preaching gifts, but these were diligently used. He 
was the son of Moses Foley, a Baptist minister of Washington 
county, Va. The seignior Moses Foley was pastor of North 
Fork of Holstein, and Rich Valley churches in Virginia, in 
1794, and, in 1802, moved, with twenty-six of the members of 
the former, to Abrahams creek, where he constituted a new 
church. About the year 18 1 5, he moved to Knox county, Ken- 
tucky, and settled on the Cumberland river, four miles below 
Barboursville. Here he was pastor of several churches till near 
the time of his death. He raised six daughters and seven sons. 
Of the latter, Elijah and Moses were Baptist preachers. Elijah 
Foley preached a short time in Virginia, then moved to Ken- 
tucky, where he labored several years in the Gospel. He fin- 
ally moved to Missouri, where he preached several years, be^ 
fore his death. 

Moses Foley, jr., was born in Washington county, Virginia, 
February 7, 1777. He professed religion in his native county, 
about the year 1802. He commenced exhorting sinners to re- 
pent, before he was baptized, and was regularly inducted into 
the ministry in 1803. After preaching a few years with much 
zeal, in his native county, he moved to Pulaski county, Ken- 
tucky, about 1808. Here he was called to the care of Union 
church. In August, 18 10, he succeeded Jeremiah Vardeman 
in the pastoral care of Crab Orchard church. To this church 
he preached forty-eight years. He continued to preach month- 
ly to Union church, several years after he was settled at Crab 
Orchard, when he resigned on account of the distance. 

After his removal to Lincoln county, in 181 1, besides Crab 

*For much of the matter of this sketch the author is indebted to J. M. 

Pitmans Creek Church. 241 

Orchard, he preached, at different times, to Freedom and Ma- 
sons Fork (now Liberty), in Garrard county, Hays Fork in 
Madison county, and Mt. Salem, Logans Creek and Drakes 
Creek, in Lincoln county. He was a good singer and an ex- 
cellent exhorter, and was very prompt and energetic in his min- 
isterial labors. He died, after a brief illness, November 9, 1858, 
greatly beloved and ftiuch lamented. 

During the period now under consideration (1791) the 
Baptists began to organize in the upper part of the Green riv- 
er country. Two churches were constituted on the north side 
of Green river this year, but which one was gathered first is 
not known. 

Pitmans Creek church was constituted of thirty members, 
on the tributary of Green river from which it derives its name, 
in 1 79 1.* It was probably gathered by that ever restless and 
migratory pioneer, Baldwin Clifton, who continued its pastor, 
till 1807, at which date he was Moderator of Russels Creek 
Association. The church failed to report the number of its 
members to the Association, till 1804, when it reported a 
membership of sixty-six. 

Pitmans Creek church appears to have united first with South 
Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists, but acceded to the 
terms of general union, in 1801, and became a member of 
Green River Association, On the division of that body, in 
1804, it fell into Russells Creek Association, with which it con- 
tinues in fellowship still ; but in 1850, or the year afterwards, it 
was moved a short distance to Campbellsville, the county seat 
of Taylor, and took the name of that village. 

Isaac Hodgen, the second pastor of Pitmans Creek church, 
was one of the most famous preachers of his generation. A 
writer in Allen's Baptist Register for 1833, says: "Isaac Hod- 
gen was in some respects, the most brilliant and successful 
minister of the gospel that ever Irucd and died \ in Kentucky. 
I knew him well for about twenty years from the early part of 
his ministry to near its close. Few ministers in the West have 
met with equal success, and none have been more laborious," 

*Horatio Chandler makes a mistake in supposing this church was con- 
stituted in 1803. We know it was a member of Green Eiver Association 
previous to that date. 

tVardeman and the Warders were living at that time. 

242 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Robert Hodgen, the father of Isaac Hodgen, came from 
Virginia to Kentucky, about the year 1780, and settled in 
what is now LaRue county. He remained for a time in a fort 
on NoHn river and was probably in the constitution of South 
Fork church in that fort, in 1782, As soon as he deemed it 
prudent to venture out of the fort, he settled on the land now 
occupied by Hodgenville, the county seat of LaRue, which 
town was named in his honor. In 1795, he represented 
Hardin county, in the Kentucky Legislature. After moving 
out of the fort, he united with Severns Valley church, now lo- 
cated in Elizabethtown, and became its clerk, in 1787. He 
was also an Elder in that church. He was much respected for 
his uprightness of character and sincere piety. Two of his sons 
were preachers. 

John Hodgen was born where Hodgenville now stands, 
about the year 1782. He was baptized into the fellowship of 
Severns Valley church, in 1802, and was in the constituiion of 
Nolin church in LaRue county, the following year. Here, after 
several years, he was licensed to exercise his gift in speaking. 
He exhibited some sprightliness in exhortation, and, in 1820, 
on the resignation of Jonathan Paddox, was invited to preach 
once a month at South Fork church. To this church he 
moved his membership. When his ordination was called for, 
Nolin church refused her concurrence on account of his Arminian 
sentiments. He was, however, ordained, in March, 1822, by 
John Chandler, Horatio Chandler, Johnson Graham and Isaac 
Hodgen, and became pastor of South Fork church. Nolin 
church was expressly opposed to his ordination, and the affair 
caused an interruption between the two neighboring churches. 
Nolin refused to commune with South Fork. This state of 
affairs continued till 1729, when W. M. Brown succeeded Mr. 
Hodgen in the pastorate, and harmony was restored. Mean- 
while Mr. Hodgen moved to Illinois and joined the Campbellites. 
After a few years, he moved from, there to Iowa, where he fin- 
ished his course on earth. 

Isaac Hodgen was born in what is now LaRue county 
(probably in No -Lynn Fort), about the year 1780. His educa- 
tion was such as could be obtained in the common schools 
where he was raised. He was a daring, reckless youth, and a ring- 
leader of the young men of good families, in almost every spec- 

Isaac Hogden. 243- 

ies of bold wickedness. While he was deputy sheriff of Hardin 
county, he got into a drinking frolic at Bardstown in Nelson 
county, and handled the wares of the tavern-keeper so roughly, 
that it cost him sixty dollars. Quite a considerable sum at that 

During the great revival of 1800-3, he professed conver- 
sion under the ministry of Joshua Morris, and was baptized 
into the fellowship of Severns Valley church. Shortly after his 
conversion, he, with most of his father's family, went into the 
constitution of Nolin church, located about three miles from 
Hodgenville, in 1803. His conversion was thorough, and he 
immediately engaged in the service of God with even more zeal 
and constancy than he had manifested in the service of the 
devil. He seemed to have been born (again) a missionary of 
the Cross. All the powers of his soul yearned for the salva- 
tion of sinners. His gift in prayer and exhortation was so 
marked that, in 1804, Nolin church licensed him to preach. 

In March, 1805, he moved to Green county, and united 
with Mt. Gilead church, where he was ordained to the \i^ork of 
the ministry, the same year. He constantly insisted that his 
appropriate work was that of an evangelist. To point sinners 
to the Cross was his great gift, and in this work his whole soul 
seemed to be absorbed. On account of the scarcity of pastors 
in Russells Creek Association, he took the care of Pitmans 
Creek (now Campbellsville) church, on the resignation of Bald- 
win Clifton, in 1807, and that of Mt. Gilead, on the resignation 
of Elijah Summars, about the same time, or, rather, he preached 
monthly for these, and perhaps some other churches, at differ- 
ent periods, when he was in reach of them. In this work, he 
probably succeeded better than any of his cotemporary pastors, 
in his association, But his great life work was that of travel- 
ing evangelist. To this work he seemed called of God and 
wonderfully adapted. " He traveled many thousand miles as 
an itinerant preacher. He carried the gospel, with universal 
acceptance, to the most populous towns and cities [and] to the 
poorest cottages and most ignorant persons in all the land. " He 
was a colaborer of Jeremiah Vardeman, William C. Warfield, 
and William and Walter Warder. God raised up these five 
men, and endowed them with extraordinary powers, not far 
from the same time. It was at a period when the young com- 

244 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

monwealth of Kentucky was being rapidly peopled by emi- 
grants from the older states, and the broad field was white unto 
the harvest. 

These men labored with intense, consuming zeal, and per- 
formed their tasks quickly. They all died in midlife, except 
Vardeman, and he lived not to his three score years and ten. 

In 1817, Mr. Hodgen and William Warder traveled as far 
as Philadelphia, and thence through several counties in Vir- 
ginia, and back home, making the whole tour on horseback, 
and preaching almost every night. It was supposed that not 
less than six hundred persons were baptized in Virginia, who 
were awakened under the preaching of these two young minis- 
ters, during that tour. In this manner, Isaac Hodgen spent 
most of his ministerial life. 

" In person," says the writer quoted above, " Elder Hod> 
gen was large and very commanding in appearance. He had a 
fine lofty forehead and an eye of love or cutting severity at will. 
His heart was warm and ardent. His zeal was like an overflow- 
ing fountain, issuing from such a depth that no season could 
affect its enlivening current. 

" In preaching, he greatly excelled in the forcible sim- 
plicity of his sermons, thundering conviction to the heart, and 
charging on sinners the mighty guilt of the Savior's death. 
His weapons, though not satirical, cut, at almost every blow. 
His eloquence, flowing from an overwhelming compassion for 
perishing souls, rolled from his tongue in such a torrent that 
all were moved as by one impulse to cry for mercy. In con- 
versation he was particularly distinguished for a facility in reach- 
ing the judgment and the heart, so that opponents were firstj 
silenced, and then melted into tears."* 

In 1826, the Lord of the vineyard was pleased to take this] 
eminent and useful servant of Christ to himself 

John Harding, who immediately succeeded Isaac Hod- 1 
gen in the pastoral care of Old Pitman's Creek church, was of a 
family distinguished alike in church and state. 

Thomas Harding, his father, was a native of Virginia, and] 
married Sarah Payne, a native of Ireland. He came, among] 
the early settlers, to Washington county, Kentucky, and was a] 

*Allen's Register for 1833, p. 189. 

Thomas Harding and Sons. 245 

soldier in the Indian wars in the West, during the American 
Revolution, for which he received a pension in the latter years 
of his life. He was under Col. Crawford at the time of his 
disastrous defeat by the Wyandott Indians on the Sandusky 
river. Crawford was captured by the Indians, and burned, and 
his army was dispersed. Mr. Harding escaped, and swam the 
Ohio river on his horse. 

After he came to Kentucky, he became a farmer. He and 
his wife were Baptists, and the wife was especially remarkable 
for her warm and constant piety. They first moved from Wash- 
ington to Green county, where they raised their family, con- 
sisting of four daughters and five sons, then, in their old age, 
moved to Indiana, where they finished their earthly course, 
near Brownsburg. 

Two of the sons, Noah and Payne, moved to Indiana, 
where they were both justices of the peace. John and Samuel 
were preachers. Aaron Harding, the youngest son, was an 
eminent lawyer and .statesman. He was twice elected to Con- 
gress, after which he retired from public life, and devoted him- 
self to his profession, at Danville. For purity of morals, prac- 
tical philanthropy, and devout christian piety, the Baptists of 
Kentucky could boast few men superior to Hon. Aaron Hard- 
ing. Chief Justice, M. R. Hardin,* was a grandson of the old 
patriotic pioneer, Thomas Harding. 

Samuel Harding, the second son of Thomas Harding, 
was born in Washington county, Kentucky, December 5, 
1787. From his boyhood, he was of a sprightly, animated 
temper, and had fine social powers, during his life. He fin- 
ished a fair English education, with an old teacher of the name 
of Mahan. He was baptized into the fellowship of Pitmans 
Creek church, about the year 18 10. He was ordained to 
the ministry at about the age of thirty, and, not far from the 
same time, was married to Annie Shipp, daughter of Richard 
Shipp of Green county, and sister of James Shipp, a brilliant 
Young Baptist preacher, who died soon after he commenced 

Mr. Harding was pastor of some churches in Kentucky, a 
short time, after which he moved to Shelby county, Indiana, 

'^" Judge Hardin was a son of the daughter of Thomas Harding. 

246 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

where he Hved on a farm, and preached to several churches. 
He was active in raising an endowment fund for Franklin Col- 
lege. He was zealous in his holy calling, and enjoyed a good 
degree of success. He was a good, sound preacher, an excel- 
lent singer, and a fair exhorter, and his fine social powers were 
consecrated to his work. He died of measles, which was said 
to be a second attack of that disease, about the year 1835. 

John Harding was the oldest son of Thomas Harding, and 
was born in Washington county, Ky. , Jan. 16, 1785. In his 
early childhood, his parents moved to Green county. Here he 
was brought up on a farm, and received a good English educa- 
tion under the tutorship of N. H. Hall, a Presbyterian clergy- 
man. While studying astronomy, he became seriously affected 
on the subject of religion. He was especially impressed with 
that familiar line : 

" An undevout astronomer is mad." 
He was a very quiet, retiring youth, remarkable for his love of 
truth and fondness for study. After laboring on his father's 
farm all day, he would gather brush, with which to make a 
light, and apply himself to reading till late at night. This habit 
of close application to study continued with him through life, 
and by this means he obtained a large and constantly increasing 
stock of useful knowledge. 

Notwithstanding his deep impression on the subject of re- 
ligion, in his early life, he did not make a public profession of 
faith in Christ, till about his twenty-fifth year. At this time 
he, his brother Samuel, and James Shipp were baptized at the 
same time by Isaac Hodgen, and he was admitted into the fel- 
lowship of Pitman's Creek church. He commenced exercising 
in public soon after his baptism. He exhibited little genius, 
but his good practical sense, sound knowledge of the Scriptures, 
and consistent piety, procured for him the universal confidence 
of the people. A little incident of the times will illustrate the 
estimate in which he was held by the young people of his ac- 
quaintance. An unconverted young man in the neighborhood, 
addressing a gay, frolicsome young lady, said to her: "My love 
for you is as true as John Harding's religion."* The measure 
of his affection was considered satisfactory to the exacting 

*'Th3 lady herself related this incident to the anth 

John Hafding. 24J 

lass, and the young people were soon afterward married. 

Mr. Harding was ordained after a short probation, prob- 
ably by John Chandler and Isaac Hodgen. He succeeded Mr, 
Hodgen in the pastorate of Pitman's Creek church, and con- 
tinued to occupy the position about twenty years. In 1848, 
Taylor county was formed, and Campbellsville, the county seat, 
was located near old Pitman's Creek church, which was soon 
afterwards moved to that town, and has since borne its name. 

Mr. Harding was also pastor of the churches at Mt. Gilead, 
Columbia, Greensburg, Friendship and of others, at different 
periods. He was a strong, clear, logical preacher, and an ex- 
cellent pastor. The churches of his charge were generally 
prosperous, and Russells Creek Association, of which he was 
Moderator twelve years in succession, after the death of Isaac 
Hodgen, owed much of its prosperity to his wisdom and pru- 

At the age of thirty, Mr. Harding married Rachel Carlisle, 
the daughter of a respectable farmer of Green county. This 
union was blessed with one child, a son, who died at about the 
age of twenty years. About 1843, Mrs. Harding, who was a 
most exemplary Christian woman, died at the home of her hus- 
band, in Campbellsville. After her decease, Mr. Harding lived 
with his brother, Hon. Aaron Harding, in Greensburg, till the 
Lord took him to himself, November 11, 1854. 

Mr. Harding was a strong, logical writer, but published 
nothing. He had several treatises on different religious subjects, 
which he intended to have published, but was called away be- 
fore his purpose was carried out. An essay on the Abrahamic 
Covenant was published after his death.* 

Brush Creek church is claimed to be one of the two old- 
est fraternities of the kind, south of LaRue and Hardin coun- 
ties. It was constituted on the creek from which it takes its 
name in Green county. Its early records were destroyed by 
fire, and upon what authority the date of its constitution is fixed 
at 1 79 1, does not appear. It is certain, however, that it is one 
of the old churches of the Green river country, for it was a 
member of Green River Association, in 1802, and was then the 
largest church within the present limits of Russells Creek Asso- 

*The principal facts in these sketches were taken from the lips of Hon. 
Aaron Harding. 

248 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

ciation, unless Pitman's Creek, the number of whose members 
is not given, was larger. Brush Creek reported that year, an 
aggregate membership of one hundred. Its messengers were 
Edward Lewis, James Goldby and Johnson Graham. It is 
probable that the church was gathered by Benjamin Lynn, as 
he was the nearest preacher, of the Separate Baptists, to that 
point. The suggestion that William Graham was its first pastor 
is not probable, since there appears to have been no preacher 
in Kentucky of the name of Graham, near that period. 

Brush Creek church contained one hundred members at the 
close of the great revival, but two years afterward, it reported 
only thirty-seven. Its growth was slow, but during the revival 
of 1829, it obtained a membership of one hundred and fifty-two. 
Since that time it has generally been prosperous, and has been 
a leading member of Russells Creek Association, from the be-^ 

Benjamin Lynn, according to a communication received 
some years ago from Dr. Hodgen Graham, was an early pastor 
of this church. He probably continued to serve in this capacity 
till after the year 1800. A sketch of the life of this famous old 
pioneer has been given in the first chapter of this work. 

William Mathews appears to have succeeded Lynn. He 
was an elderly man when he came to Kentucky. He possessed 
very small gifts, but his piety was so pure and constant, and he 
was so affectionately diligent in the work of his Master, that he 
exerted an excellent influence over all classes of people, and 
was greatly beloved by the children of God. 

William Mathews was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, 
in 1733, and was among the early converts to the Baptist faith 
in that region. Like the Craigs, Wallers and others, who were 
converted near the same time and place, he began to exhort his 
neighbors to repent and turn to Christ, soon after he was con- 
verted. It was a time of violent persecution, and Mr. Matthews 
came in for his share of rude treatment. Elder Joel Gordon, 
who was intimately acquainted with him in his old age, heard 
him relate the following incident: "On a" Sunday morning, 
soon after I commenced exercising in exhortation," said Mr. 
Matthews, "I dressed myself in a suit of speckless white cotton 
clothes, and started to walk to meeting alone. I was just pass- 
ing an exceedingly filthy pond when I was overtaken and seized 

^ Willi am Matthews. 249 

by two young men. They dragged me into the pond to a con- 
i^enient depth for baptizing. Here they stopped, and one of 
:hem asked me if I believed. I remained silent, and they 
plunged me under the water. They raised me up, and again 
isked me if I believed. I was still silent, and they dipped me 
:he second time. Raising me up again, they repeated the ques- 
tion as to whether I believed. I now replied : ' I believe you 
intend to drown me.' They then left me, but my white cotton 
5uit was unfit to wear to meeting, so I went back home." 

He relates another disaster which happened to him, after 
le was regularly set apart to the ministry. " I was out one 
day, " said he, ' ' hunting. I soon came within shooting distance 
3f what I took to be a very large deer. At the crack of my 
rifle, it fell. But, on running up to it, I found I had killed, not 
1 fine fat deer, but a poor old horse. This was the only horse 
in the neighborhood, and was kept principally for the people of 
:he settlement to go to mill on, as we did not plow our land at 
that time, but cultivated it altogether with hoes. I was unable 
to pay for the animal. But on my making known the circum- 
stances, the neighbors soon made up a sufficient sum to buy 
mother horse." 

Mr. Mathews was among the early emigrants to Green 
county, Kentucky. On Benjamin Lynn joining the Newlights, 
or Stoneites, as the religious sect, which originated about that 
period, was called, Mr. Mathews succeeded him in the pastoral 
care of Brush Creek church, about the year 1803. He was at 
this time, seventy years old, and had not long to serve. But 
he served faithfully. During the ten years he was connected 
with the church, one hundred were added to it by baptism, 
ninety of whom were received in one year, 18 10. But he had 
now finished his course. In 181 3, the Lord called for him. "His 
death was a beautiful reflection of the life he had led," said the 
venerable Joel Gordon. " I was present during his last hours. 
He lay and snored gently for about twenty- four hours, like one 
enjoying a sweet, refreshing sleep, after the fatiguing labors of 
a loiig summer day. He then awoke as one refreshed and invi- 
gorated. He calmly called his children and grand children 
around him, and gave them his dying charge. When he closed 
his address, he asked them if they approvedof whathe had said. 
On being answered in the affirmative, he said : 'I am now ready 

250 History of Kentucky Baptists. 


to go.' He again fell into a gentle sleep and slept about an 
hour. When he awoke he said : 'There are angels standing all 
around me. They are all dressed in shining white. There is 
brother Hawks at my head, and sister Lewis standing at my 
feet.* They are waiting to carry me home. WJiy! dont you see 
theniT He then passed quietly away to join the multitude of 
the redeemed that had gone before, "f 

Thomas Whitman is supposed to have been the third 
pastor of Brush Creek church. He was a man of considerable 
ability, and was quite active in the ministry, during the early 
part of the present century. But he was of an unamiable tem- 
per, was Arminian in doctrine, and " unstable in all his ways." 
There was, however, no allegation against his morals, and he 
was quite useful in gathering and building up the early churches 
on both sides of Green river. He aided in constituting old 
Green River (now Lonoke) church, the oldest now existing in 
Hart county. Thomas Whitman is supposed to have come from 
Pennsylvania, about the year 1800. He first settled on Knox 
creek in what is now Hart county, where he became a member 
and a preacher in Knox Creek church. After a short time, in 
consequence of a misunderstanding between him and Joseph 
Stogdill, he took a letter, and united with South Fork in what 
is now LaRue county. He was chosen pastor of this church. 
During the year 1808, he declared himself in favor of emanci- 
pation, and carried over to his views a majority of the church. 
To this party he preached till most of them returned to the 
slavery party, when he also professed a change of views, and 
the church again became united. This was about the year 18 14. 
It was about this time that he is supposed to have become 
pastor of Brush Creek church. He preached here but a short 
time, yet with some degree of' success. 

About the year 1830, he moved to Illinois, and soon 
afterwards went to give an account of his stewardship.]: 

William Whitman, a son of Thomas Whitman, and a 
young man of fair promise, was licensed to preach at Green River 

*Mr. Hawks and Mrs. Lewis had died a short time before this. 

tThe principle'facts in this sketch were taken down from the lips of Elder 

tThe principle facts of this sketch were taken down from the lips of 
Elder John Duncaa. 

TJie Grahams. 251 

now Lonoke) church in Hart county, in August, 1819. He 
Dreached a few years in Kentucky, and then moved to lUinois. 

Johnson Graham was the fourth pastor of Brush Creek 
:hurch. He was a good medium preacher, with a very hmited 
education, but a man of such warm and fervent piety, such 
irmness and constancy of faith, and such burning zeal for the 
lonor of Christ and the salvation of sinners, that he ranked 
imong the most valuable preachers in his Association. 

William Graham, the father of Johnson Graham, was a 
lative of South Carolina, and an old revolutionary soldier. He 
served seven years in the Continental army. He married Nancy 
Lynn, a sister of the famous old Kentucky pioneer, Benjamin 
Lynn. This marriage was blessed with two daughters and three 
5ons. Wm. Graham was an early settler on Brush creek in 
Green county, Kentucky. Whether, as some have suggested, 
be came with his brother-in-law, to Kentucky and settled first on 
Nolynn (now spelt Nolin) river, or whether he followed him at 
1 later period, and settled first on Brush creek, may not now be 

Johnson Graham was the second son. He was born in 
South Carolina, October 2, 1772, and came with his father to 
Kentucky in his youth. In 1798, he married Miss Casandria 
Stone. He was probably converted during the great revival of 
1800-3 under the ministry of his uncle, Benjamin Lynn, by 
whom he was baptized into the fellowship of Brush Creek church. 
He began to exercise in public prayer not long after he was 
baptized, but his gifts developed slowly, so that he did not enter 
fully into the work of the ministry till about 18 12, he being, at 
that period, forty years old. He was called to the pastoral care 
of Otter Creek church, in LaRue county, Greensburg and 
Brush Creek, in Green county, and Friendship, in what is now 
Taylor county. " I do not remember, " says his daughter, 
"but one change in his pastoral relation during a period of 
about twenty-five years, and that was when David Thurman 
was called to the care of Friendship church, only for a brief 
period." His success was fair, in all his churches. He was 
twice Moderator of Russells Creek Association, and once 
preached the introductory sermon before that body. He united 
with a temperance society that was organized in Green county, 
and was a zealous advocate of total abstinence from the use of 

252 History of Kentucky Baptists. , 

intoxicating drinks. He was a very skillful peacemaker. 
When two members of his charge would have a disagreement, 
he would go at once to see them, and labor affectionately with 
them till the difficulty Avas adjusted. But the time came when 
the eminently good and useful man must close his labors. 
After an illness of six weeks' continuance, he left forever the 
scenes of toil and suffering, and went to receive his reward on 
high, Oct. 26, 1840.* 

Nothing of peculiar interest occurred among the Baptists 
of Kentucky during the year 1791, except a rather violent 
agitation, on the subject of negro slavery. Congress had passed 
an act by which Kentucky was to be admitted into the Union ot 
States, the first of June, 1792. Delegates were to be elected 
on the 9th of December, 1791, to meet in convention, the fol- 
lowing April, for the purpose o^ forming a Constitution for 
the new State. Many of the Baptists, including a number of 
their ablest preachers, were opposed to Slavery and in favor of 
adopting a State Constitution prohibiting it. Elkhorn Associa- 
tion held three sessions this year. In August it appointed A. 
Easton, Jas. Garrard and Ambrose Dudley to prepare a memorial 
on the subject of Religious Liberty and Perpetual Slavery. The 
association met again in September, approved the memorial and sent to the Convention. The churches were much 
agitated on the subject. The association met again in December, 
and resolved not to send the memorial, f 

The work of planting churches was carried on more delib- 
erately and wisely during this year, than it had been the year 
before. Most of the churches gathered were permanent, and 
some of them are still strong, efficient bodies, while most of 
those gathered the preceding year speedily perished. 

While there were several more churches this year than last, 
the number of baptisms among the Regular Baptists was smaller 
than during the year previous, the latter being 249, the former 
242. Still there was manifest progress made, and a good foun- 
dation was being laid on which to build more rapidly when the 
set time to favor Zion should come. 

*This is compiled from two comm.unications received from Mr. Graham's 
children. One from Mrs. Barbee of Weston, Mo., the other from Dr. H, 
Graham of Litchfield, Ky. 

tA fuller account of the Emancipation movement has been given in 
Chap. XIII. 



The year 1792 was peculiarly barren of events among the 
Baptists. Political excitement was at fever heat, and absorbed 
the attention of all classes of citizens. A convention met at 
Danville, in April, to form a constitution for the State. Many 
of the leading ministers of the different sects were opposed to 
African slavery, as were many other prominent citizens. David 
Rice, the leading Presbyterian minister in the country, wrote, 
with much ability against the institution, and was a member of 
the convention. There were also a number of Baptists in the 
convention, prominent among whom were Col. Robert John- 
son, Thomas Lewis, Robert Fryer, George Stokes Smith,* 
Col. James Garrard,* William King, John Bailey,* Jacob Fro- 
man and Richard Young. However, the pro-slavery party pre- 
vailed, and Kentucky was admitted into the Union as a slave 
state, June i, 1792. This checked, but did not stop the agita- 
tion of the slavery question in the churches. As shown in chap- 
ter Xni, there was confusion among the Baptists, on the sub- 
ject, during nearly thirty years after this. 

During this year, the Indians were troublesome in Ken- 
tucky, for the last time. "The pale faces" had, at last, be- 
come too numerous and powerful for the children of the forest. 
They had bravely held their ancient hunting ground as long as 
they were able. How long and fierce had been the struggle be- 
tween them and the invaders of their ancient domain ! How 
many hundreds of brave warriors had fallen on both sides ! 
What scenes of carnage and cruelty had transpired ! How 
many settlers had fled away into the deep dark forests by the 
light of their burning cabins ; and how many had been con- 



254 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

sumed in the devouring flames ! How many helpless women 
and children had been torn from their beds, and ruthlessly 
butchered by the blood-thirsty savages ! Ah how the whole 
land had mourned over their murdered dead ! But the tide of 
immigrants still ceaselessly rolled into the blooming valleys of 
the Great West, and the virgin soil was peopled with civilized 
men much more rapidly than the savages could depopulate it. 
Again and again the red men had come to endeavor to regain 
their lost territory, or avenge themselves on the usurpers, and 
had as often been repulsed. But now they visited their old 
hunting ground, as warriors, for the last time. They were 
speedily driven away. The pale-faces followed them to their 
homes, burned up their villages, destroyed their stores of pro- 
visions and their growing crops, and pushed them on towards the 
setting sun, until their vast multitudes that once spread over a 
broad continent have been reduced to a few thousands who hide 
themselves in and around the mountain fastnesses of the far 

Happy will it be if the christian people, who occupy the 
ancient possessions of the red man, and plow over the graves 
of their fathers, shall send them the blessed gospel of Jesus 
Christ, that at least some of the remnant of the multitudinous 
nations may be redeemed from death, and brought to the enjoy- 
ment of that broad land where the millions from every kindred 
and tribe and tongue and nation shall sing together one ever- 
lasting song of love. 

When Kentucky was admitted into the Union, June i, 1792, 
it had been eleven years, lacking seventeen days, since the first 
church had been gathered on her soil. During that eleven years, 
fifty-five Baptist churches had been constituted. All of them, 
so far as known, except Gilbert's Greek church of Regular Bap- 
tists, were still in existence. They contained a membership of 
about 3,331. The number baptized during that year may be 
estimated, from reports made to two associations out of the 
three then existing in the state, at 184. 

There appear on all accessible records, only two churches, 
constituted during this year. 

Chenowith's Run was the second church organized within 
the present limits of Jefferson county. It was located about twelve 
miles southeast from Louisville. It was constituted by Joshua 


Chenowiths Run. 255 

Morris and Joshua Carman, June 16, 1792, of the following- 
persons: David White, Sukey White, Micajah Mayfield, John 
Sharp, Catharine Sharp, William Tyler, Sarah Tyler, Robert 
Donaldson, Masse Donaldson, Elisha Freeman, Edward Brant, 
Leah McCown, Elizabeth Sharp, Elizabeth Stuart, Sarah Curry, 
John Mundle, Jane Mundle, Funis Applegate, Rodham Sea- 
ton, and Jack, a negro. All, except the last named, who had 
a letter of dismission from Cedar Creek in Nelson county, had 
been dismissed from Brashears Creek, for the purpose of going 
into this constitution. The church united with Salem Associa- 
tion the same year it was constituted, and, on the constitution 
of Long Run Association, in 1803, became a member of that 
fraternity. The growth of the church was so slow that, in 
1812, it contained but 37 members. In 1824, it enjoyed a re- 
vival which brought its membership up to 54. It continued to 
prosper, till 1829, when it contained 98 members. But now, 
under the ministry of Zacheus Carpenter, Campbellism was in- 
troduced into its pulpit, the pastor was carried away with that 
heresy, and the church was reduced to 20 members. In Octo- 
ber, 1832, William P. Barnett was called to the pastorate. For 
a time the church prospered, and attained a membership of 38. 
But again it waned by the dismission of nearly half its mem- 
bers to form other churches. Mr. Barnett resigned, in 1839. 
In 1 84 1, the church agreed to dissolve. But the old members 
refused to take letters, and, in 1846, called George LaPage to 
minister to them. The next year, George W. Robertson be- 
came their pastor. Meanwhile, in May, 1846, the church 
moved its location, and changed its name from Chenowiths 
Run to Cedar Creek. By the latter name, it is still known. 
It has passed through rnany trials, and frequent changes of 
pastors. Its present membership is about iii. 

As to the early pastor, or pastors of this old fraternity, nei- 
ther the records nor reliable tradition gives any account. 

Silas Garrett moved from Virginia, and settled near this 
church, about 18 18, and was soon called to its pastorate. In 
this position he continued till he was called home. Silas Gar- 
rett was born of Baptist parents, in Louden county, Va. March 
8, 1763. He received a liberal education for that time. In 
1790, he married Susannah, daughter of Alderson Weeks, a 
Baptist preacher. After his marriage, he moved, first to Bed- 

256 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

ford, and then to Franklin county. While in the latter, he was 
sent to the Virginia legislature, in which he served several 
terms. In 1807, he lost his wife, and the next year was mar- 
ried to Judith, daughter of Peter Booth. In 1810, he professed 
conversion and united with a Baptist church. He at once aban- 
doned his political career, and entered the christian ministry. 
He was ordained a few months after his baptism. After labor- 
ing in the ministry about eight years, in Virginia, he moved to 
Jefferson county, Ky., where he became a member, and the pas- 
tor of Chenowith's Run church. He was doctrinal and argu- 
mentative in his preaching, and was much beloved by those 
who knew him intimately. But the church was soon called to 
mourn the loss of their beloved pastor. He died, April 9, 1823. 
His oldest son A. H. Garrett was a prominent member with 
the "Old School " Baptists. He was a good citizen of Spencer 
county, and served one or two terms in the Kentucky legislature. 
Zacheus Carpenter succeeded Mr. Garrett in -the pastoral 
office at Chenowiths Run. He was born in Spottsylvania county, 
Va., Jan. 20, 1774. He was taught to read and write, and 
then apprenticed to a house-joiner, where he learned a trade. 
He visited Kentucky as early as 1796, and four years afterward 
settled in Woodford county of that State, where he married 
Nancy, daughter of Francis W. Lea, Dec. 21, 1800. The next 
year he was baptized into the fellowship of Clear Creek church, 
in Woodford county, by Richard Cave. In 1805, he moved to 
Shelby county, and united with South Long Run church, about 
two miles south of the present site of Simpsonville. Here he 
was ordained to the ministry by Henson Hobbs and others, 
about the year 1815. On the death of Henson Hobbs, Aug. 
14, 1 82 1, Mr. Carpenter succeeded him in the pastorate of 
South Long Run church, and, two years afterwards was called 
to Chenowiths Run. He had a Cair degree of success in these 
two churches, till 1829, when he was accused of teaching 
Campbellism. He induced Chenowiths Run to abolish her 
confession of faith. About twenty members protested against 
this action, and were acknowledged by Long Run Association, 
as the lawful church. The majority was recognized by the 
Campbellites, and, for a time, seemed to flourish under the 
ministry of Mr. Carpenter; but it is believed the faction finally 
dissolved. The Carpenter party at South Long Run being re- 

Zacheus Carpenter. 257 

jected by Long Run Association, and Mr. Carpenter, conse- 
quently denied a seat in that body, built a new meetinghouse, 
near Mr. Carpenter's residence, and called their church Liberty. 
But discord got in among them, the church withered, Mr. 
Carpenter fell into disrepute and was excluded from the church 
he had built up, or, rather perverted to Campbellism, was after 
a time restored again, and the church finally dissolved. Most 
of the Baptist party at South Long Run had foreseen the ap- 
proaching troubles, and had withdrawn and constituted a church 
at Simpsonville ; and after the formal division, the remnant of 
the Baptists united with that body. 

After Mr. Carpenter's restoration to the fellowship of his 
brethren, he continued to preach among the Campbellites, till 
he became too feeble to travel. 

In 1852, he wrote a sketch of his life and doctrinal views, 
but his children did not see fit to publish it. 

In 1854 his wife died. Concerning her, he wrote : " Her 
life was very lonesome and laborious during my protracted 
ministerial life ; but she never said to me : ' You must not go.' 
Truly she was faithful unto death. But .... I will not com- 
plain. The Lord gave her to me a long time. He has now 
taken her. Blessed be his holy name." He did not long sur- 
vive his aged companion. He died Jan. 2, 1863. 

Mr. Carpenter was a respectable citizen, and it is believed 
an honest, sincere man. He possessed a good native intellect, 
but his acquirements were limited, and his preaching talent 
very moderate. He was so self-willed as to be regarded stub- 
born. He seems to have had no settled system of doctrine, but 
was always vascillating. 

That eminently faithful and useful man of God, Wm. P. 
Barnett, was the next pastor of Chenowiths Run church, but 
some account of his life will be more appropriately given in 
connection with King's church. 

George LaPage accepted the pastorate of this church, in 
1846. He lived in Spencer county, and was a young preacher 
of some promise, but he soon fell into disgrace and was deposed 
from the ministry. 

George W. Robertson succeeded LaPage in the pastorate 
of this church, in 1847. ^^ was an active, energetic man, and 
a good preacher. He was quite successful, both as a pastor 

258 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

and an evangelist. In 1856 he was appointed general agent for 
the General Association of Kentucky Baptists. In this work 
he succeeded well. But chronic sore throat forced him to vacate 
the pulpit. He then established a book and publishing house 
in Louisville, which he conducted with good success a number 
of years. After this he moved to Bardstown, and thence to a 
farm in its vicinity, where he still resides. He has been pastor 
of several country churches at different times since he left 
Louisville, and is an enthusiastic Sunday-school man. The 
greatest drawback to his usefulness in the ministry has been an 
excessive fondness for money-making. He has, however, 
maintained a character for unimpeachable morals and business 

Richard C. Nash was several years pastor of this old church, 
after it changed its name to Cedar Creek. He was an active, 
zealous preacher, and was quite successful as a revivalist. He 
spent the early years of his ministry in Indiana. 

He was born in Jefferson county, Ky., Feb. 23, 18 10. At 
the age of sixteen, he united with the church at Flat Rock in 
his native county, and was baptized by Ben. Allen. In 1845, 
he was licensed at the Fourth Baptist church in Louisville, and 
the^following year was ordained to the ministry at Jeffersonville, 
Ind. About the beginning of 1852, he moved back to his na- 
tive county, and settled near Cedar Creek church to which he 
ministered a number of years. After this he moved to Hardin 
county. In 1861, he accepted a chaplaincy in the loth Ken- 
tucky Volunteers (Union) and served in that capacity three 
years. Returning to his farm in Hardin county, he died Feb. 
4, 1865. 

Richard A. Beauchamp was the next pastor of Cedar 
Creek church. He is a native of Spencer county. At an early 
age he united with Plum Creek church, then under the pastoral 
care of W. G. Hobbs, in October, 1850. In July, 185 1, he was 
licensed to preach, and in the following November was invited 
to preach once a month to his home church. In December, 
1852, he was ordained to the ministry by William Vaughan, 
Wm. P. Barnett, Wm. Stout and others. He preached to the 
churches at Mt. Washington, Cedar Creek and perhaps some 
others, a few years, and then moved to Obion county, Tennessee, 
where he still lives and labors in the ministry. He is a good 

Sugar Cfeek Cfnirch. 259 

preacher, an excellent pastor, and is justly held in very high 
esteem. Several others have been pastors of this old church. 

Sugar Creek church in Garrard county was first consti- 
tuted in 1792, and united with Elkhorn Association the same 
year. It contained twelve members. It was represented in the 
Association only four years when it embraced only eleven mem- 
bers. It then disappears from the list of Kentucky churches, 
till 1 80 1. Whether it had been dissolved and was now consti- 
tuted a-new, or was reorganized under the old constitution, does 
not appear. Upon its reorganization Randolph Hall became its' 
pastor, and, from this time, it was a member of South District 
Association. In 1806, it was numerically the third church in 
that body, and contained 96 members. It continued to prosper 
till it reached a membership of in. After this, it gradually de- 
clined till it ceased to represent itself in the Association, and is 
now very weak, if it has not been dissolved. Of the preachers 
who built up this old church and nurtured it during its days of 
prosperity, as Hall, Higgins and Kemper, sketches have been 
given in connection with Forks of Dix River church. 




The Baptists were much more active in gathering the new 
settlers, of their order, into churches, in 1793, than during the 
preceding year. Kentucky was now an independent state. 
The people made and executed their own laws, and they, en- 
joyed a degree of contentment that they had not feltbefore, since 
they had been in the new country. The Indians had been fin- 
ally driven away from their soil, and they felt a degree of se- 
curity for themselves, their wives and their little ones, to 
which they had hitherto been strangers, in the western wilder- 
ness. The ministers of the gospel could leave their families 
with less fear of their being molested. They pushed out 
among the border settlers, and gathered the scattered Baptists 
among them, into churches. 

LuLBEGRUD, SO Called from a small stream near where it 
was located, was the first church gathered in what is now J 
Montgomery county. A plain, humble preacher of the name 
of Daniel Williams was probably the principal instrument in 
bringing this church together. It was constituted of twenty 
members, on the third Saturday in March, 1793. It united 
with South Kentucky Association, where it remained till the 
general union, when it became a member of North District. 
Its growth was very slow, till 18 10, when Jeremiah Vardeman 
came among its members. He was called to the care of the 
church, and served it about seven years. During this period 
over one hundred were added to its membership. Previous to 
18 10, this church exhibited a singular conceit in building 
house of worship with twelve corners, to represent the twelve 
apostles. John Smith succeeded Vardeman in the pastorate. 
Under his administration a revival occurred, during the con- 
tinuance of which, one hundred and twenty-five were added to 
the church. 


John Smith. 261 

In 1823, Thomas Boone was called to the care of this 
church; and continued to serve it twenty years. In 1843, the 
church was divided on the subject of missions; and the pastor, 
with a majority of the church, formed the Anti-mission 
party. A. R. Macey was chosen pastor of the Missionary 
church. From that period till 1879, ^^ changed pastors fre- 
quently. Two new churches were constituted near it, and it 
dissolved. The Anti-mission church still exists, but in a very 
feeble condition. 

Sketches of Moses Bledsoe, David Barrow and Jeremiah 
Vardeman, who were early pastors of this church, have already 
been given. 

John Smith, who took charge of this church, in 1823, and 
who was widely known as "Raccoon John Smith," was raised 
up, and began his ministry among the Baptists in Wayne 
county. His education was very limited, but he possessed a 
strong intellect, was a keen wit, and a vivid hu'morist, and be- 
came a strong and very popular preacher. He moved to Mont- 
gomery county, and soon became the most influential preacher 
in North District Association. He was instrumental in building 
up the churches of this fraternity, till about 1830, when having 
fully imbibed Campbellism, he set about perverting them. 

His success was so great that North District Association soon 
lost its existence, except that its name is retained by a small 
fraternity of anti-missionary Baptists. Mr. Smith soon became 
a prominent leader among the Campbellites of Kentucky. He 
lived to a ripe old age, and maintained an excellent character 
among his people. 

Thomas Boone was the next pastor of this church. He 
was called to its care in 1823. He was a grandson of Squire 
Boone, who was a Baptist preacher, a noted pioneer and a 
brother of Daniel Boone, the famous Kentucky hunter and ex- 
plorer. His father, Squire Boone, jr., was also a Baptist preach- 
er, as was his brother, Isaiah Boone, who preached in the Green 
River country and ultimately joined the Campbellites. His son, 
Ira Boone, was a " Regular Baptist" preacher in Missouri. It 
will be seen that the Boones were a preaching family. 

Thomas Boone was born in Madison county, Ky. , Dec. 24, 
1789. His parents moved to Fayette county, while he was a 
small child. Here he was brought up with a limited common 


262 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

school education. He obtained hope in Christ at the age of 
fourteen, and was probably baptized by his father, and united 
with Boggs Fork church. In his twentieth year, he was mar- 
ried to Sallie, daughter of George Muir, of Fayette. Soon after 
his marriage, he settled in Clark county, where he spent the re- 
mainder of his earthly dkys. He was ordained to the ministry 
at Log Lick church, in 1815, by Edward Kindred and others. 
To the care of Goshen church he was called in December, 18 16. 
He was also pastor of Log Lick, Dry Fork, and New Provi- 
dence. Of all these churches he was pastor at the time of his 
death. Soon after he became pastor of Goshen he took mem- 
bership in that church. After a year of patient suffering, and 
in full assurance of faith, he died of cancer of the stomach Sep- 
tember 21, 1855. 

Mr. Boone was a man of that warm, genial and cheerful 
piety that wins the admiration of the good, and disarms the evil 
of their malevolence. He was eminently a man of love, and few 
men ever enjoyed more fully the confidence of the people. He 
possessed only moderate preaching gifts, but his influence was 
very great. On the split of the churches on the subject of mis- 
sions, in that region, in 1843, he identified himself with the Anti- 
missionaries. After his death, Lulbegrud church erected a 
monument over his grave. 

James French, a prominent citizen of Montgomery coun- 
ty, was long clerk of Lulbegrud church. He was among the 
earliest settlers of Kentucky. When Boonesboro was laid off, 
in 1779, his name was given to one of its streets. When Camp- 
bellism was rending the churches of North District Association, 
Mr. French called a meeting at Lulbegrud to consider means of 
defense against the wiley arts of " Raccoon " John Smith, and 
his influence was so great that Mr. Smith pronounced him "the 
wisdom of the opposition." A subsequent historian has said: 
"In a word, it was James French, and not John Calvin, that 
withstood John Smith so obstinately in North District Associa- 

Judge Richard French, son of the above, was also a mem- 
ber of this church. He was born in Madison county, Ky. 
June 23, 1792. In early childhood, he was carried by his 
parents to Montgomery county where he was raised up. He re^ 
ceived a moderate common school education, and chose the la\ 

Grassy Lick Church. 263 

for his profession. He was early admitted to the bar, and entered 
into partnership with Mr. Dillard (afterward the distinguished 
Ryland T, Dillard, D.D.), at Winchester, Ky. In 1820, he re- 
presented Clark county in the Legislature, and was returned in 
1822. In 1828, he was appointed Circuit Judge. He after- 
wards served three terms in Congress. In the midst of his poli- 
tical honors, he paused to seek the salvation of his soul, and 
was baptized by his former law partner. In 1850, he located in 
Covington, where he resumed the practice of his profession. 
His health soon failed, and he moved out a few miles into the 
country, where he departed this life in a most triumphant man- 
ner. May I, 1856. Two of his sons, James, Judge of the County 
Court and Moderator of Boone's Creek Association, and Stephen, 
Judge of the Circuit Court, are members of the Baptist church 
in Winchester, Ky. 

Grassy Lick church was located in the western part of 
Montgomery county. It was probably collected by Elijah 
Barnes. It was constituted of members dismissed from Bryants, 
for that purpose, in the early part ot 1793. At the fall session 
of Elkhorn Association, the same year, it reported to that body, 
18 baptisms, and a total membership of 32. 

This church was very prosperous for a long series of years. 
In 1801, it reported 107 baptisms during the year, and a mem- 
bership of 195. About 1805, it took a letter from Elkhorn and 
joined North District Association. About 18 10, Jeremiah Var- 
deman became its pastor, and ministered to it about three years, 
during which 90 were added to its membership by baptism. It 
continued a prosperous church till the introduction of Campbell- 
ism into that region, when it was destroyed by that schism. 

Elijah Barnes who was probably the first pastor of Grassy 
Lick church was received into the fellowship of Bryant's church 
by experience and baptism, in June, 179O. He was dismissed by 
letter in March, 1793, and united with Grassy Lick church, 
where he was probably set apart to the ministry. After a few 
years, he moved to Lincoln or Pulaski county, where he was 
active in raising up the first churches in the hilly regions of these 
counties. He was a man of small preaching talent, but was 
highly esteemed for his piety and consecration. He was widely 
known in the "Hill country " as "old daddy Barnes. " For 
many years, he rode a gray horse. The faithful beast came to 

264 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

be almost as well known by the name of "old gray," as the 
rider, by his sobriquet. One year, when feed was very scarce, 
old gray suffered much for want of food, and became so lean as 
to be hardly able to carry his master to his appointments. Dur- 
ing this period, at a church meeting, the brethren discussed the 
subject of paying preachers. One of the members said, in sub- 
stance: " I don't think preachers ought to be paid anything for 
preaching. The Lord calls them to preach : they are in his em- 
ploy and he will reward them in the next world." At this point, 
"Daddy Barnes" put in the question : "But what will old Gray 
do ?" This may remind the reader of the old English preacher's 
remark that, "the water of Salvation is free, but the pitcher it is 
carried in must be paid for." 

Mr. Barnes lived to be quite old. He was faithful to the 
end, and his memory is still cherished by those Avho knew him. 

Bracken Church is located in the village of Minerva in 
Mason county. It was gathered by the famous Lewis Craig, 
by whom it was constituted, in the summer of 1793, of the 
following persons, who had been dismissed from Washing- 
ton church, with perhaps some others : Philip Drake, Ann 
Drake, Bernard Thompson and wife, Mary Lewis, Mary Down- 
ing, Thomas Kelsor, Elizabeth Murphy, Hannah Kelsor and 
Dennis Murphy. The records of the church are lost, and little 
is known of its early history. It is most probable that Lewis 
Craig was its first pastor. As early as 1805, the church was 
divided into two distinct organizations, on the subject of Slavery. 
At this date William Holton was pastor of the Pro -slavery 
church, and James Thompson was pastor of the other party. 
They had occupied the same house. The split was finally 
healed, by the dissolution of the Anti-slavery Association, in 
the State. 

The church appears to have been received into Elkhorn 
Association in 1795, at which time it comprised forty-five mem- 
bers. When it entered into the constitution of Bracken Associ- 
ation, in 1799, it contained 156 members. In 1829, Jesse Hol- 
ton, who had been pastor since 181 5, went over to Campbellism, 
taking most of the church with him, so that out of a member- 
ship of 251, only thirty-seven remained with the Baptists. 
After the split, Gilbert Mason was called to the pastorate, and 
preached several years. He was so strongly tinctured with 

Bracken CJnirch. 265 

CampbelHsm that he induced the church to discard its articles 
of faith. A. D. Sears began to preach to this church, in 1840. 
Under his administration, it re-adopted its articles of faith, and 
again enjoyed peace and a good degree of prosperity. 

In 1842, A. W. LaRue succeeded Mr. Sears in the pastor- 
ate. Thischurchenjoyedprosperity under his labors. In 1850, 
there was a summing up of the church's labors in the past, and 
it was ascertained that there had been baptized into its fellow- 
ship 618 persons. Since that period, it has declined. From 
1850 to 1875 it had eleven pastors. A church must have re- 
markable vitality to survive such treatment, a quarter of a cen- 
tury. At present it has a membership of sixty. 

Of the numerous pastors of this old church, several are 
widely known. Of Lewis Craig a sketch has been given. Of 
William and Jesse Holton there is little information at hand. 

James Thompson was pastor of the Anti-slavery division of 
Bracken church, from the division, in 1805, till its dissolution, 
about 1 8 18. He was a native of Scotland, and emigrated to 
America in his youth. Arriving in Philadelphia, January 8, 
1767, he was sold for a term of three years, to pay his passage 
across the ocean. He married during his servitude. When his 
term of service expired, he moved to Virginia. Here, under 
the preaching of Henry Hagan, he professed religion, and, 
although he had been raised a Presbyterian, was baptized by 
Mr. Hagan into the fellowship of a Baptist church. The next 
year he was drafted into the army. At the return of peace, 
he moved to Bracken county, Kentucky, where he was set 
apart ^o the Gospel ministry, and gave the evening of his life to 
preaching the Word. He was regarded a man of sincerity, as 
well as a sound gospel preacher. 

Gilbert Mason was born in Bedford county, Virginia, 
June, 1 8 10. When he was about ten years old, his parents 
moved to Franklin county. Here Gilbert, at the age of eleven 
professed conversion under the preaching of J. B. Jeter and 
Daniel Wills, and was baptized by Moses Green into the fellow- 
ship of old Bethel church. He was immediately induced to 
engage in public prayer, and early in his thirteenth year, was 
fully licensed to preach the Gospel. Although compelled to 
labor continually on his father's farm, he preached of nights 
during the week, and on Sabbaths. After laboring a year or 


266 Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. 

two in this manner, he was permitted to Hve a year with Abner 
Antony, at the solicitation of that kind minister. Here he gave 
himself wholly to the work of the Master. He then went to 
school in Fincastle nearly two years, living in the family of Rev. 
Absalom Dempsey. After this he attended an academy in 
Albemarl. He then became a co-laborer of John Kerr, pastor 
of the First Church in Richmond. From this field he was called 
to the church in Petersburg, and was regularly installed its pas- 
tor the day he was nineteen years old. He occupied this pas- 
torate about five years, during which he baptized a large num- 
ber, among whom were Elder Thomas Hume, Sr. , and the dis- 
tinguished Dr. J. S. Baker, now of Georgia. 

On the death of Elder Abner Clopton, Mr. Mason was 
called to succeed him as pastor of some churches in Charlotte 
county. He filled this position nearly three years, when he 
was called to the pastorate of Mays Lick church in Mason 
county, Kentucky. He also preached to Maysville, Washing- 
ton and Bracken churches. About 1845, ^'^^ became involved 
in personal difficulties with several members of the different 
churches he was ministering to. Grave reports affecting his 
moral character became current. A council was called to in- 
vestigate the charges. The council met at Lewisburg and de- 
cided that Mr. Mason should make acknowledgements for his 
error, and ask forgiveness for his wrongs, or that Washington 
church, of which he was a member, should exclude him. He 
agreed at once to comply. He made the following declaration 
in writing: 

"Not claiming to be infallible, I declare, in fulfillment of 
the requisition of the council, as far as I can do without a vio- 
lation of conscience, that I am sorry for any errors I may have 
committed, and any injustice I may have done Brother William 
V. Morris or Brother John L. Kirk, or any other member of 
the Mays Lick or Maysville churches, and I ask forgiveness. 
"(Signed) Gilbert Mason." 

The Washington church accepted this apology, but Mays 
Lick and Maysville rejected it. The whole matter came before 
Bracken Association, in 1847, and Washington church was ex- 
, eluded from the Association, for not complying with the deci- 
sion of the council. The result was the organization of a new 
Association within the bounds of Bracken. It may here be re- 

Gilbert Mason. 267 

marked that the two Associations were reconciled, and united 
again, after a few years. 

About 1853, or the year following, Mr. Mason was called 
to the church at Lexington, Virginia. Remaining here several 
years, he baptized a large number, among whom was the elo- 
quent and scholarly J. C. Hiden, now (1885) of Lexington, 
Ky. From Lexington, he was called to Manchester, Va., 
where he preached under the employ of the board of the Gen- 
eral Association, as he had done at Lexington, till the beginning 
of the Civil War, when he moved back and resumed his old 
charge in Kentucky. Here he remained until the fall of 1872, 
when, his health being impaired, he resigned his" charge, and 
returned to Virginia. He resided at Lynchburg till January i, 
1873. At that time, though very feeble in health, he went to 
visit his brother, Elder G. M. Mason, of Yancyville, N. C. Here 
he remained till his death, which occurred March 4, 1873. 

Gilbert Mason was one of the most remarkable men that 
ever occupied a place in the American pulpit. At the age of 
twelve years he could repeat whole chapters of the Bible by 
rote, and, could readily turn to any passage in it. He was 
fully licensed to preach early in his thirteenth year. At the 
time of his death, which occurred when he was only sixty-three, 
he had been actively engaged in preaching the gospel, fifty 
years. And, according to his own statement, had baptized 
over four thousand people. 

A. D. Sears, labored at Bracken church, under the em- 
ploy of the missionary board of Bracken Association, about two 
years. He was not pastor of the church, but did much to re- 
cover it from its disorder and confusion. 

Mr. Sears was of English ancestors, and was born in Fair- 
fax county, Va., Jan. i, 1804. He acquired a fair education. 
He was raised under deistical influences, and entertained a 
strong prejudice against religious people, holding the Baptists 
in especial contempt, on account of what he regarded their vul- 
gar and indecent practice of immersion. He had never formed 
the habit of attending preaching. In 1823, he came to Ken- 
tucky, and settled in Bourbon county, where, in 1828, he mar- 
ried Miss Ann B. Bowie. By some means he was led to a close 
study of the Bible and was thereby led to Christ. He had never 
heard a Baptist preach. But getting hold of Andrew Fuller's 

268 History of Kejitiicky Baptists. 

Works, he found their teachings so fully in accord with his ex- 
perience, and understanding of the New Testament, that he 
resolved to join the hitherto despised sect. On the 19th of 
July, 1838, he and his wife were baptized by RylandT. Dillard, 
and became members of Davids Fork Baptist church in Fayette 
county. In 1839, he was licensed to exercise his gift. In 
February, 1840, he was ordained to the ministry, at Davids 
Fork, by R. T. Dillard, Edward Darnaby and Josiah Leak. 

He at once entered upon the work of his holy calling, and, 
during the next seven months, preached once a month at each of 
Georgetown and Forks of Elkhorn, (not being pastor at either 
place), and devoted the rest of his time to holding protracted meet- 
ings. In December, 1840, he moved to Flemingsburg, and was 
appointed missionary in the bounds of Bracken Association, in 
which capacity he labored with good success about two years. 
During the year 1840, he held meetings at Shelby ville, Burks 
Branch and South Benson, where large numbers were added 
to the churches. In July, 1842, he commenced a meeting with 
the First Baptist church in Louisville, which continued eight 
weeks, and during which he baptized 125 persons. The first 
of September following, he accepted the pastoral care of that 
church, and continued to serve it till July, 1 849, when he resigned 
to take the general agency of the General Association. In July, 
1850, he took charge of the church at Hopkinsville. Here he 
remained till the war came on, when he went South, where he 
preached at various places, and much of his time to the sol- 
diers, many of whom he baptized. In the latter part of 1864, 
he attempted to return to Kentucky, but was prohibited by the 
military authorities. In January, 1866, he took charge of the 
church at Clarksville, Tennessee, where he still remains. Under 
his care the church has increased from 25 to 225 members, and 
has erected a house of worship at a cost of ^25,000. 

Mr. Sears is now 80 years old, is an active and successful 
pastor, and, six years ago thought he could preach with less fa- 
tigue than he could thirty years before. May his useful life be 
long spared. 

Alexander Warren LaRue held his first pastorate at old 
Bracken church. His paternal grandfather, John LaRue, was 
of French extraction, and settled in the county which bears his 
name, in 1785. He left the Presbyterians and joined the Bap- 

Alexander Warren La Rue. 269 

tists, and was a distinguished and honored citizen. His father, 
Squire LaRue, wis Assistant Circuit Judge of his district, rep- 
resented Hardin county in the Kentucky legislature, in 1822, 
was a member of the Baptist church, and of him, it is written, 
" He filled every place to which he was called, with dignity 
and honor." The mother of A. W. LaRue was a daughter 
of Alexander McDougal, who was a native of Ireland, and a 
faithful Baptist preacher. 

A. \V. LaRue was born in what is now LaRue county, 
Kentucky, Jan. 23, 1819. He was led to Christ under the min- 
istry of his cousin, S. L. Helm, and was baptized into the fellow- 
ship of Severns Valley church, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, by 
Colmore Lovelace, Sept. 17, 1837. He was licensed to preach, 
Nov. 3, 1838. Having taken an academic course at Elizabeth- 
town, he entered Georgetown College, in 1839, where he grad- 
uated, in 1842. Soon after he graduated, he was called to the 
church at Flemingsburg and two or three others in Bracken 
Association. At the former he was ordained, by John L. Wal- 
ler and A. D. Sears, Dec. 4, 1842. In this field, he labored 
with great zeal and usefulness, nearly seven years, not only 
preaching to four churches, but laboring abundantly throughout 
the territory of the association. In 1849, his health having be- 
come greatly enfeebled from excessive labor and exposure, he 
moved to Louisville, and entered into partnership with the dis- 
tinguished William C. Buck, by which he became co-editor and 
part owner of the paper now so widely known as TJie Western 
Recorder. He was connected with this journal about four years. 
Meanwhile he was pastor of Bank Street church in New Al- 
bany, Indiana, for a time, and then of East church in Louis- 

In January, 1853, having severed his connection with the 
paper, he accepted a call to the church at Harrodsburg. He re- 
mained here a little more than three years, when, in the summer 
of 1856, he took charge of the church at Georgetown. Here also 
he remained about three years, and then, in August, 1859, en- 
tered upon the duties of a pastor at Stanford. Here, as at every 
other place where he labored, his success was remarkable. In 
1863, ^^ moved to Christian county, and became pastor of Sa- 
lem church. Before he had been here a year, his wife died 
suddenly of an attack of neuralgia of the brain. She was a 

270 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

daughter of Elijah Craig, jr., and grand-daughter of the famous 
old pioneer preacher, Lewis Craig. She was a noble, godly- 
woman, and was the strength of her household. Mr. LaRue 
was frail, delicate, and extremely sensitive and refined in his feel- 
ings. The shock was greater than his constitution could bear. 
His wife died July 19, 1864, and he followed her to the place of 
everlasting rest, on the nth of September, following. 

Mr. LaRue was not a genius, neither did he possess a su- 
perior native intellect. He was but a medium man in all his 
gifts. But his application, his industry, and well-tempered zeal 
were extraordinary. Few men were ever more consecrated to 
the cause of Christ, or made a deeper impression upon the 
minds and hearts of those with whom they came in contact. 
His usefulness in the cause of Christ was very extensive, and a 
multitude of Christian hearts mourned when the beloved LaRue, 
great in goodness, fell, scarcely beyond the prime of man- 

Few families in Kentucky have produced more valuable 
men than that of John LaRue. Among his descendants may- 
be named Hon. George H. Yeaman, now of New York, and 
late minister to Russia, Rev. John H. Yeaman, deceased, Rev. 
W. Pope Yeaman, D. D., of St. Louis, Rev. William L. Mor- 
ris, deceased, the late Rev. Robert Enslow, Rev. S. L. Helm, 
D. D., Judge Squire LaRue and Rev. A. W. LaRue, and the 
distinguished Gov. John L. Helm, of Kentucky. Except Gov. 
Helm, who was not a member of any church, they were all 
worthy Baptists. 

Mill Creek church (Nelson county) is located about 
five miles east of Bardstown. It was, according to tradition, gath- 
ered by that famous old pioneer, William Taylor, at that time 
pastor of Cox's Creek church. It was constituted on Saturday 
before the fourth Sunday in December, 1793, of the following 
persons : John Batsel, Joseph Suttle, William Kendrick, 
Henry Cotton, Thos. Ellison, Thomas Halbert, Sarah Halbert, 
Judith Briggs, and Hannah McCarty. It is probable that Wil- 
liam Taylor supplied them with occasional preaching, till 1799, 
when John Penny visited them. He found the church in some 
disorder. There was one or more of the members, who held 
the chimerical notion of "Redemption from hell," which was 
taught by the eloquent John Bailey, about that time. Mr. 

Samuel Carpenter, 271 

Penny refused to commune with the church on that account. 
It is probable that they speedily corrected the evil; for Mr. 
Penny took charge of the church the following January. How 
long he preached to them is not known. 

Joshua Morris began to preach for the church, one Sunday 
in the month, in 1802, Wm. Taylor being pastor. In 1807, Mr. 
Morris became pastor. In 18 16 Jeremiah Vardeman and George 
Waller aided the pastor (Morris) in a series of meetings. An 
extensive revival prevailed-, and sixty-eight were baptized. 
Again, in 1829, an extensive revival prevailed, Joshua Morris 
being pastor the second time, and there was a large ingathering 
of souls. Next year Samuel Carpenter was called to the church. 
He had imbibed the sentiments of A. Campbell, and taught 
them so effectively that the large and hitherto flourishing church 
was filled with discord. In 1834, the Baptists separated from 
the Campbellites; the latter probably being in the majority. 
Since that period, the church has not been large, but it has 
maintained a respectable standing, and has had a number of able 

It had, in 1878, 105 members. Of the early pastors of this 
church, sketches have been given elsewhere, except that of 
John Penny which will appear more appropriately in connec- 
tion with Salt River church. 

Samuel Carpenter was a native of Madison county, 
Va. , and he was born in 1785. His parents moved to Bullitt 
county, Ky., in 1795, where he was brought up. He studied 
law and was admitted to the bar at Bardstown, about 1805. 
In 1828, he professed religion under the ministry of Jere- 
miah Vardeman, and joined the Baptist church at Bardstown. 
He was soon afterwards set apart to the ministry, and became 
the preacher of Bardstown and Mill Creek churches. 
Imbibing and preaching the sentiments of A. Campbell, he 
divided both the churches, and almost destroyed the one at 
Bardstown. The Campbellites got possession of the meeting- 
house at that time, one of the best in the State. There was 
some debt on the house, for which it was sold. Mr. Carpenter 
bought it, and notwithstanding, he was the leader of the Camp- 
bellites in that region, and was formally identified with them 
in church relationship, he manifested his sympathy with the 
Baptists by selling them the house at little more than a nominal 

272 Histo?}' of Kenticky Baptists. 

price. The Campbellite church soon dissolved, and has not 
been gathered again. 

After these transactions, Mr. Carpenter occasionally 
preached, but did not make it his calling. He practiced law at 
Bardstown till 1847, when he was appointed by the Governor, 
Circuit Judge. He maintained the reputation of a Christian gen- 
tleman, and died in the faith of the Gospel, June 24th, 1857. 

William Martin Brown was a prominent preacher in his 
time, and field of labor. He was an active and valiant soldier, 
and the cause of truth and righteousness owes much under God 
to his fine abilities, his active zeal, and wisely directed labors. 
His principal field of operation was comprised in Nelson, Har- 
din, LaRue and Hart counties, but he often went beyond these 

He was born in Halifax Co., Va. , August 18,1794, where 
he grew up to manhood with only the common school educa- 
tion of the times. In 18 12, he married Christina, daughter of 
John Yates, of his native county. The next year he moved 
to Mercer county, Kentucky. In 18 15, he settled for the re- 
mainder of his earthly days, in what is now Hart county. 
He obtained hope in Christ, and was baptized by David Thur- 
man, into Three Forks of Bacon Creek church, in 1820. He was 
licensed to exercise his gift the first Saturday in February, 182 1, 
and was ordained to the ministry in 1829, having served Three 
Forks of Bacon Creek church as preacher, three years before he 
was ordained. To this church he ministered till the close of his 
earthly career — a period of thirty-two years. He was pastor of 
South Fork church, LaRue county, thirty years, and of Knox 
Creek, Mill Creek and perhaps several others, during shorter peri- 
ods. He was eminently successful in his pastorates, and equally 
so in the fields of destitution around him, in which he labored abun- 
dantly. He aided in raising up new churches and strengthening 
weak ones, and was full of zeal and enterprise in all that pertained 
to the interest of Zion. He died June 3, 1861. 

Mr. Brown was of an extremely cheerful temperament, in- 
somuch that his conversation, while it was brilliant and pleasing, 
smacked of levity. He was fond of humor, and was a ready 
wit. On one occasion, in the presence of Elder William Vaughan, 
who was one of the most brilliant wits of his generation, Mr. 
Brown was entertaining some friends in the social circle with a 

Richard H. Slaughter. 273 

rather lengthy and extravagant story. When he had finished, Mr. 
Vaughan responded : "Billy, if I were you, I would never tell 
that story in the presence of sensible people." Mr. Brown in- 
stantly responded: "I never do, Brother Vaughan." It was 
always Greek meeting Greek when these two wits of the Ken- 
tucky pulpit came together in the social circle. 

Mr. Brown left two sons who are Baptist preachers: James 
H. Brown, of Louisville, and Judson Brown, of Hart county.* 

NiMROD C. Beckham, of whose life few particulars are at 
hand, was a good man of fair preaching gifts, and for a period 
of twenty years previous to 1856, performed his part in minis- 
terial labors among the churches of Shelby, Spencer, Nelson 
and the neighboring counties. 

He was born in Culpeper county, Va. , May 28, 
1802, and received a fair English education. He joined a Bap- 
tist church in early life, and was early set apart to the ministry. 
When he moved West, he settled in Nelson county, Ky., prob- 
ably about 1825. He was for a time pastor of Mill Creek 
church in Nelson, and Newhope in Washington. 

In 1856, he moved to Rumsey, McLean county, where he 
died of heart disease, August 31, 1865. Of his six children, 
five became Baptists. 

Richard H. Slaughter was descended from a distinguished 
family of his name, among the pioneers of Kentucky. He was 
born in Hopkinsville, Ky. , in 1 823. He was educated at George- 
town College, and was early set apart to the ministry. His 
preaching gifts were not above mediocrity, and most of his time 
was devoted to school teaching. However, he loved the work 
of the ministry, and preached as often as he could make oppor- 
tunity. He usually supplied several churches with monthly 
preaching, in connection with his teaching. Under such cir- 
cumstances, as might be expected, he was not very successful 
in the ministry. But he was an excellent teacher, and a good 
man of fine, cheerful spirit. He was at different times, stated 
preacher for the churches at Mt. Washington, Bullitt county, 
Mill Creek and Cedar Creek in Nelson county, and perhaps 
others. He died of typhoid fever while conducting a school at 
Shiloh, Hardin county, Ky. , Jan. 16, 1863. 

*The latter, a valuable minister, died January 1, 1885, aged 48. 

274 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Mt. Moriah Church,* at first called Drennon's Lick 
Creek, is located in Nelson county, about twelve miles south- 
west from Bardstown. All its early records are lost, and little 
is known therefore, of its early history. It was admitted into 
Salem Association, in 1793, and has continued a member of 
that ancient fraternity to the present time. William Taylor, 
Joseph Barnett, and John Whitaker were the only Regular 
Baptist preachers known to have lived in that region of the 
State at that period, but which of them gathered this church, 
or who preached to it during its early years is not known. The 
growth of this church appears to have been slow at first. In 
1822, it contained 95 members. It had enjoyed a precious re- 
vival in 1 8 16, during which 27 were baptized. In 1839, ^^ com- 
prised 116 members. It continued gradually to increase till, in 
1879, it attained a membership of 185, 

CoLMORE Lovelace was the most distinguished pastor of 
Mt. Moriah church. He was a native of Maryland, and was 
born Nov. 26, 1795. His parents, who were both Baptists, 
emigrated to Kentucky, and settled in Nelson county, about 
the year 1800. They united with Lick Creek (now Mt. Moriah) 
church. Here their son Colmore was raised up with very little 
education. At the age of fourteen years, he professed conver- 
sion, and was baptized by Moses Pierson. From the time of 
his conversion, he manifested a strong desire for the salvation 
of sinners. But he possessed no extraordinary sprightliness, 
and his growth in a knowledge of the gospel was very slow. In 
his twenty-first year, he married Rachel, daughter of Thomas 
Newman, and settled in Hardin county. Here he took mem- 
bership in Severns Valley church. He was extremely timid, but 
so great was his desire for the salvation of his neighbors that 
he began to pray and exhort, and the church licensed him to ex- 
ercise his gift, April, 6, 1822. His progress was so satisfactory 
that, on Aug. 2, of the following year, he was ordained to the 
ministry at Severn's Valley, by Alexander McDougal, 
Simeon Buchanan and Daniel Walker. In a brief space of time 
he became the most popular preacher in his Association and re-i 
tained this popularity as long as he lived. 

*I am convinced that Lick Creek (con. 1789) and Mt. Moriah are the 
same church. 

Colmore Lovelace. 275 

On the 4th of March, 1824, his wite died, and, on the 24th 
01 June following, he married Christina, daughter of Benjamin 
Irwin. Among the first churches to which he was called, was 
that to which he first belonged, and it was among the last he re- 
linquished in his old age. During his ministry of about forty- 
one years, he was at different periods pastor of about 1 5 churches, 
all of which were probably within less than thirty miles of .his 
home, and he seldom went out of this boundary. Living within 
less than forty miles of Louisville, from early childhood to old 
age, he never saw that city. 

He was a good medium preacher. He studied his subject well, 
and adhered closely to his text. He studiously avoided controver- 
sy, and his sermons, prayers and exhortations were all attuned to 
love tones. His life was one of almost spotless purity ; it is not 
known that, from his youth to his death, he ever committed a 
single act, unworthy of a Christian minister. 

His address was extremely pleasing. His voice was soft and 
musical. His countenance was always bright, and his face 
seemed to beam with the tenderest love. All classes heard him 
with interest and pleasure. It is probable that no man ever had 
fewer enemies. His popularity was evidenced in the fact that he 
married over 575 couples. A moderate degree of success at- 
tended his labors; he baptized something over 1,200 persons. 

Sometime before his death, his health was feeble. In the 
winter of 1864, he was attacked with paralysis. He was confined 
to his bed a few weeks. Among his last words were these : "I 
now have a glimpse of my precious Savior." He passed to his 
reward, on the i6th of March, 1864. 

With all his excellences, Mr. Lovelace had one palpable 
weakness that should not be imitated. Perhaps it originated in 
his extreme timidity. It is as much the duty of a minister to 
defend the truth as it is to preach it. And no part of God's 
truth should be left untaught. Man's influence may be wider 
where he preaches only what is pleasing to men, but God gives 
greater success to him who preaches and defends a whole 

Mill Creek church (Jefferson county), was located three 
miles south of the present limits of Louisville, near the junction 
of the 1 8th Street and 7th Street turnpike. There is a small brick 
meeting-house, in which a congregation of Methodists worships, 

276 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

and in which the Baptists own an interest, marking the site of 

this ancient fraternity. The early settlers of this locality were 

principally Germans, prominent among whom were the Shive- 

leys. But of whom the church was composed, who gathered it, 

or was its pastor is utterly unknown. The most we can know 

of it is, that, 

"Once in the flight of ages past 
There was a church " 

It was constituted as early as 1793 ; for during tha^ year, it 
was received into the fellowship of Salem Association. The 
number of its members was not reported. The excitement on 
the subject of African slavery ran high at that period. In 1795, 
this church sent the following query to Salem Association : "Is 
it right for professing [religious] heads of families to raise up 
their servants without learning [teaching] them to read the word 
of God, and giving them sufficient food, raiment and lodging?" 
The Association thought it not proper to interpose in domestic 
concerns, and, therefore, voted it out. 

2. Query from the same church: "Has a black slave a 
right to a seat in the Association ?" Answer : "Yes, provided 
he be sent as a messenger from a church." 

The manner in which these queries were treated seems to 
have offended the church past its endurance. Next year, the 
Association, ^'Resolved, That the church at Mill Creek, Jefferson 
county, be no longer considered a part of this Association, hav- 
ing withdrawn from us." After this, the name of the church ap- 
pears no more on associational records. Whether the Anti-mis- 
sionary church that occupied the same locality afterwards was 
identical with the original ' 'church at Mill Creek' ' does not appear. 

Flat Lick church, located, it is believed, in Bourbon coun- 
ty, and probably gathered by Augustine Eastin, was received in- 
to Elkhorn Association, with a membership of 13, in 1793. It 
had a moderate growth till the "Great Revival," during which 
it received 63, which brought its membership up to about 100. 
But Mr. Eastin, its pastor had succeeded in leading most of its 
membership into the Arian heresy: so that, in 1803, it only had 
16 members. In 1809, it entered into the constitution of Lick- 
ing Association with a membership of about 33. In 18 19, it 
took the name of Mt. Dependence. It existed, with a member- 
ship of 30, as late as 1832. 

Tates Cieck Association. 277 

Richard Thomas was a minister in this church, where he 
probably succeeded Mr. Eastin in the pastoral office. He, with 
his brother Philemon, who afterwards attained to some promi- 
nence in the councils of the State, had been baptized by Wm. 
Hickman, at the Forks of Elkhorn, about 1788. He was a 
young preacher of some sprightliness, and might have been use- 
ful, but for his union with Licking Association of Anti-mission- 

Joel Morehead was a minister in the same church a num- 
ber of years. He preached the introductory sermon before 
Licking Association, in 1829, and again in 1833. He appears to 
have stood well with his people. 

Springfield church was constituted, at the county seat of 
Washington, in 1793, and united with Elkhorn Association, with 
a membership of 19, the next year. In 1796, it reported 27 
members, and then disappeared from the records. Who gather- 
ed it, or who occupied its brief pastorate is unknown. 

In 1793, a third effort was made to form a union between 
the Regular and Separate Baptists. At the meeting of Elkhorn 
Association, in May of that year, it was agreed that Ambrose 
Dudley, James Garrard, John Taylor, John Price and Augus- 
tine Eastin be appointed to visit the South Kentucky Associa- 
tion to confer with them on the subject of a union between the 
two bodies. Arrangements were made to have the churches of 
both associations to send messengers to a meeting to be held at 
Marble Creek, in Fayette county, in July. The meeting was 
accordingly held. A large majority of the messengers agreed 
on terms of union. But some of the Separates opposed the 
measure in such a manner as to defeat it. This so displeased 
some of the churches of south Kentucky Association that they 
at once, declared a non-fellow for that body. 

On the 23d of the following November, four* churches met, 
by their messengers, and formed themselves into an associa- 
tion, under the style of "Tates Creek Association of United 
Baptists." This was the fourth association formed in Ken- 
tucky, and the first that styled itself United Baptists. This 
was done in imitation of the Baptists of Virginia, who had hap- 
pily united, and assumed this title, six years before. 

*Benedict says five but the official record before me says/o«r. 

278 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Tates Creek Association did not, at first, adopt any con- 
fession of faith, but in general terms agreed to that adopted by 
Elkhorn and Salem. This gave some trouble, for, although 
Elkhorn entered into correspondence with the new fraternity 
immediately, it caused such uneasiness among some of the 
churches, that she was compelled to w'ithdraw her correspond- 
ence the next year. But, in 1797, the correspondence was re- 
sumed, and has continued to the present time. 

Of the eight churches constituted this year, only three are 
known to exist now, and, judging from the partial reports ac- 
cessible, the number of baptisms was only a little more than 
half of that of the preceding year. But the faithful old sol- 
diers of the cross labored on amid increasing gloom, believing 
that in due time they should reap if they fainted not. Nei- 
ther did their faith fail, nor their hopes mock them; although 
they must wait yet seven years for the harvest they were 
now so diligently sowing and cultivating. 



The year 1794, like the preceding, and several succeeding, 
opened gloomily as related to religious interest in Kentucky. 
There were preachers enough to occupy the settled portions of 
the State. They were men of piety, and preachers of a high 
order of effective talent, and were generally active and zealous 
laborers in the cause of the Master. There were churches 
enough, and, indeed, far too many. In many instances they 
were crowded so close together as to devour each other. There 
were a few new settlements where churches were wanting, but 
these were speedily supplied. There was some agitation among 
the churches, on the subject of slavery, especially within the 
bounds of Salem Association, and some excitement had been 
created in South Kentucky Association by the formation of Tates 
Creek Association within its bounds, and of churches which had 
violently rent themselves from its fellowship. There was also 
some restlessness among the churches of Elkhorn Association, 
because of a correspondence having been established between 
that body and Tates Creek Association of United Baptists. But 
the cause of this religious dearth did not lie in any of these trifling 

An immense tide of immigration was pouring into the new 
State. Land was rising in value, the staple products of the 
country commanded high prices, and the heads of the people 
were turned to money-making; not only people of the world, but 
most of the enterprising church members. Many of the ablest 
and most efficient preachers engaged wildly in land speculation. 
The minds of Christians became worldly, and they walked too 
much after the flesh. They naturally became watchful and suspi- 
•cious of each other, and overreached each other in their secular 


28o History of Kentucky Baptists. 

dealings. Under such a state of affairs, the cause of religion 
continued to lani;uish, from the close of the revival, in 1789, to 
the beginning of the great revival of 1800-3. Meanwhile, many 
of the preachers kept themselves aloof from speculation, and 
were diligent in the work of the Lord. These pushed out into 
the new settlements anu gatnereci churches, wherever there were 
Baptists enough to form them. 

Spencer Creek church was located on a small stream from 
which it derived its name, in Montgomery county, and was con- 
stituted, in 1794, principally of persons who had been dismissed 
from Providence church in Clark county, b)^ John Rice and 
Moses Bledsoe. The next year it united with South Kentucky 
Association, and, after the general union, fell into the North Dis- 
trict fraternity. Who its early pastors were, if it had any, has 
not been ascertained. Its growth was so very slow that, in 18 17, 
it numbered onl}- 30 members. In October of that year, John 
Smith moved from Wayne county to Montgomery, and took 
charge of Spencer Creek, Lulbegrud, Bethel, and Grassy Lick 
churches. Under his ministry Spencer Creek grew so rapidly 
that, in 1829, it numbered 313 members, and was much the 
largest church in North District Association. But, as a Iiap- 
tist church, it was strong only in numbers. Mr. Smith had 
fully adopted Campbellism, and nearly all the church had re- 
ceived his teachings. In 1S30, the Baptists were separated fromi 
the Campbellites, leaving the former only 25 members. This 
remnant represented itself in the Association, as Spencerj 
Creek church, till 1840, when it formally dissolved. 

James Edmonson, one of the pastors of this church, was 
a native of Maryland, and was born in March, 1785. His 
parents moved to Clark county, Kentucky, in 1790, where he 
was brought up to manhood, receiving only a common schoo^ 
education. On the 5 th of May, 1808, he was married tc 
Sarah R, daughter of Bartlett Haggard. He was very gay an< 
fond of amusements, particularly dancing. But, in 1809, he 
was awakened to a sense of his guilt, under the ministry of 
Robert Elkin, and, on finding peace in Jesus, was baptized 
into the fellowship of Providence church. About 1 830, he 
was licensed to preach, and was soon afterwards ordained to 
the ministry by Thomas Boone and David Chenault, having 
been previously called to the care of Indian Creek church in 

Licking Church. 281 

Clark county. He was afterwards pastor of Dry Fork, Provi- 
dence (not the old mother church of that name), and Log 
Lick, all in the same county, and Spencer Creek and Grassy 
Lick in Montgomery county. He was an acceptable pastor, 
and an active, zealous preacher, preaching much in the private 
houses of the people, which was a common custom at that period. 
He was experimental and hortatory, rather than argumentative, 
and continued to labor with much zeal till near the close of his 
pilgrimage. As his end drew near, he expressed great desire to 
depart and be with Christ. His family urged him to use reme- 
dies for his recovery ; but he replied: "I am thus far on the 
road home; I do not wish to turn back. I am anxious to go on 
and be with the Savior." In full assurance of hope, he left this 
world for his home above, Sept. 9, 1S61. 

Nathan Edmonson, a son of the above, and also a resi- 
dent of Clark county, was a preacher of fair ability, and, it is be- 
lieved, was pastor of some churches. But he had some eccen- 
tricities that impaired his influence. It is probable that he never 
possessed an entirely sane mind. At about mid-life, he commit- 
ted suicide. 

Licking church, first called Mouth of Licking, was consti- 
tuted in October, 1794, at the house of Wm. Decourcey, in 
what is now Kenton county. It was located on the Ohio, about 
six miles above the mouth of Licking river, and its first mem- 
bers were Wm. Decourcey, Bethel Riggs, Closs Thompson, and 
Joseph Kelley and their wives. John Smith, of Columbia, 
Ohio, was the first pastor of this church, and was soon succeeded 
by Bethuel Riggs, who preached much in the settlement, during 
several years. John Bealwas a member of the church, in 1807, 
and was probably its pastor. Closs Thompson was also a 
licensed preacher in the church, which, at that date, numbered 
38 members. Christopher Wilson, a brilliant preacher of North 
Bend Association, who died insane in Hancock county, preached 
much to this church, from 18 17 to 1827, and was probably its 
pastor a part of that time. Since that period it has had the 
pastoral labors of John Stephens, Robert Ware, Wm. Mon- 
tague, James Vickers, Wm. Stillwell, Furgus German, N. C. 
Pettit and others. This church first united with P^lkhorn Asso- 
ciation ; it entered into the constitution of North Bend Associa- 
tion, in 1803, and finally aided in forming that of Campbell 

282 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

county, in 1827. It has never been a large church. In 1876, it 
numbered "^"j members. 

James Vickers was one of the most distinguished pastors 
of this old church. He was the son of Moses Vickers, a well 
known pioneer preacher of Northern Kentucky, and was born 
at Cane Ridge, Bourbon county, Ky., Oct. 7, 1794-the same 
year that Licking church was constituted. Soon after his birth, 
perhaps the next year, he was carried to what is now Kenton 
county where he was brought up amid the dangers and priva- 
tions of the wilderness. He was an exceedingly wild, fun- 
loving youth, and devoted much of his time to rude frolicking 
and perpetrating ruder practical jokes. His favorite pastime 
consisted in procuring a bottle of whisky, collecting as many 
boys and young men as he could, and then preaching to them. 
He continued in his course of daring wickedness till he was 
about twenty-four years of age. At this period an arrow from 
the quiver of the Almighty stuck fast in him. His contrition 
was deep and pungent. But at last he found peace in Jesus. 
He united with Banklick church in Kenton county, in 1818, 
and was baptized by Elam Grizzle. He was licensed to exer- 
cise his gift, at Crews Creek, in 1820, and ordained to the min- 
istry in 1824. He had, at different periods, the pastoral care 
ot Licking, Banklick, Wilmington, Brush Creek, Four-Mile, 
Newport, Jamestown and Dry Creek churches. Among the 
masses he was probably the most popular preacher that ever 
labored in North Bend or Campbell County Association, and 
probably preached more than any other preacher of his day, in 
that region of the state. Late in life, he was attacked with dys- 
pepsia, which rendered him unable to preach, for about two 
years. During this period he was very gloomy and deeply 
depressed in spirit. At length he sufficiently recovered as to 
be able to preach, and again entered upon his work with all the 
zeal of former years. He not only ministered promptly to his 
pastoral charges, but also, like most active preachers of his day, 
labored abundantly among the destitute around him. He often 
extended his labors to Cincinnati and the regions beyond it, in 
Ohio. As a pastor he was active, constant and successful. As 
a preacher he was plain, simple and unaffected. He was not a 
profound thinker, but most happily applied the fundamental 
principles of the gospel, and his gift of exhortation was almost 

James Vickers. 283 

marvelous. He attended the meeting of the General Associa- 
tion at Louisville, in 1857. Of him, on this occasion, the la- 
mented A. W. LaRue writes: " Old Bro. Vickers, from North 
Bend Association, closed up, on one occasion, with one of his 
peculiar exhortations. Such a flood of tears, and such an old- 
fashioned shakehands, many people present never before wit- 
nessed. His remarks were most happy. All were impressed 
with the true greatness of the man. Some frozen-hearted 
Christians, who had not shed a tear in twenty years, wept like 
children. In short, it was a feast to all to hear his simple, 
melting eloquence."* 

But bright as was the escutcheon of this loved and honored 
minister of Christ, it had one disgraceful stain on it. In the 
days of his youthful levity, he cultivated an unextinguishable 
thirst for strong drink. This was a poignant thorn in his. flesh 
during the whole of his subsequent life. He struggled against 
the demon he had invoked in his youth, with strong crying and 
tears ; but it occasionally overcame him, even in his old age. 
His repentance was so earnent and so manifestly sincere, that 
his brethren, and even the unconverted, cordially forgave him 
as often as he sinned. He wept freely and confessed his sins, 
even in his public ministrations, and his audiences always wept 
with him. He continued to labor with great zeal till within a 
few hours of his departure. His last work was performed at 
Twelve-mile church in Campbell county. While engaged in a 
protracted meeting at that place, he became so unwell that his 
friends urged him to desist from preaching. But he continued 
laboring a few days longer, when he was violently attacked 
with pneumonia. Within a few hours, and before his family 
could reach him, he fell asleep in Jesus, as it is fondly hoped, 
Feb. 29, i860. 

Elk Creek church is the oldest in Spencer county, and 
the oldest in Long Run Association, except Cedar Creek, at 
first known as Chenowiths Run. It was gathered by Joshua 
Morris, then pastor of Brashears Creek church in Shelby coun- 
ty, and v/as constituted of ten members, April 27, 1794. It was 
It first called Buck Creek and was received into Salem Associa- 
ion the same year it was constituted. It soon afterwards took 

*LaRue's Ministry ot Faith, pp. 100, 101. 

284 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

the name of Buck & Elk — perhaps in consequence of the re- 
moval of its location, and the constituting of another church in 
1799, in an adjoining neighborhood, which took the name of Buck 
Creek. Salem Association met with Buck & Elk church in 
1798. Joshua Carman appears to have been its first pastor. 
In 1803, Buck & Elk, with 23 other churches, formed Long 
Run Association. At that time it was the largest church in the 
new fraternity, except Buck Creek, and contained 149 mem- 
bers. In 1823, it changed its name to Elk Creek. This name 
is derived from a small tributary of Salt river, on which the 
church is located. 

Elk Creek church continued to prosper till 1837, when it 
contained 188 members. At this time it declared non-fellowship 
with "conventions, theological seminaries and societies that give 
membership for money." The next year the church withdrew 
from Long Run Association, and, in 1839, for protesting against 
this action, 21 members were excluded. These embodied them- 
selves, claimed the constitution and prerogatives of Elk Creek 
church, immediately called George Waller to minister to them, 
and in the fall of the same year, were recognized by Long Run 
Association, and reported 52 members to that body. Mr. Wal- 
ler preached to them about nine years, when they reported 87 
members. In 1850, the Antimissionary party split up among 
themselves, and a number of their members joined the Mission- 
ary church. The Antimissionary faction continued to diminish, 
and finally dissolved. The Missionary church continued to pros- 
per, till 1877, when it split into two nearly equal parties, about 
their pastor, B. F. Hungerford. J. B, Moody was called to take 
charge of the party that opposed Mr. Hungerford, while the lat- 
ter continued to preach to his own party. The Moody party 
was recognized by Long Run Association. The other party has 
no associational connection, at present (1885). 

Of the early pastors of this church, some account has been 
given of Joshua Carman and Reuben Smith. 

JosiAH Harbert was pastor of this church, in 1797, but 
was ejected from the pastorate for some unknown cause, after 
serving only four months. He was probably dismissed because 1 
of a want of ability to fill the place, as no charge was brought 
against him. Soon after this he moved to what is now Boone 
county, where he preached the introductory sermon before North 

Fox Run C/mrch. 285 

Bend Association, in 1805. It is believed that he afterwards 
moved to Indiana. 

Fox Run church, located in the northern border of Shelby- 
county, was gathered by John Whitaker and Joshua Morris, by 
whom it was constituted at the house of James Hogland, Jan. 
26, 1794, of the following- persons : Jesse Buzan, Eliza Buzan, 
James Hogland, Mary Hogland, Wm. Metcalf, Hester Metcalf, 
James Metcalf, Thomas Metcalf, Mary Teague, Milly Long, 
Robert and Jane Loudon, Joseph and Margaret Ervin and one 
Dther. Not long after their constitution, William Marshall be- 
came a member and preacher among them. He preached eter- 
nal justification and refused to preach the gospel to sinners, 
rhe church would not receive his doctrine. This irritated him, 
a difficulty ensued, and the minister who had been so wonder- 
fully successful in Virginia, was excluded from fellowship, 
after which he remained out of the church till his death. This 
church probably joined Salem Association the same year it was 
constituted, where it remained till it entered into the constitution 
of Long Run Association, in 1803. At this time it embraced a 
a. membership of only twenty-seven. In 18 12, it reached a 
membership of sixty-five. During the Campbellite disturbance, 
it was reduced from 153, to about ninety. In 1839, it joined 
Sulphur Fork Association, to which it reported a membership 
of seventy-eight. From that time the church has had a grad- 
ual increase. In 1880 it reported 156 members. It is now 
located in Eminence in Henry county. Of the preachers early 
connected with this church, sketches of John Whitaker, Wil- 
liam Marshall and Joshua Morris have been given. 

Alan McGuire was the most distinguished preacher within 
the present bounds of Sulphur Fork Association, in his day. 
He was probably the immediate successor of William IMarshall 
as preacher in Fox Run church. He was born in Pennsylvania, 
Aug. 21, 1768. His father was poor, and raised a large family 
of children, which he was, of course, unable to educate. Alan 
had the advantage of three months schooling, and was taught 
his father's trade. However, by close application, he became 
a fair English scholar and an excellent pensman.* 

In April, 1788, he emigrated west, and settled in Lexing- 

■ I am indebted to the Chris. Rep. for many of these facts. 

286 History of Ke^itucky Baptists. 

ton, Ky. Here he became partner in the first tailor shop estab- 
Hshed in that town. He was an industrious, sober and honora- 
ble young man, and succeeded in his business. In 1795, he 
was married to Mary, daughter of Robert Forbes, an early 
emigrant from North Carolina to Bryant's station. This woman 
made him an excellent wife. 

In 1798, he moved to Henry county, and settled in the 
woods, about two miles south of the present village of Smith- 
field. Soon after this he became interested about the salvation of 
his soul. In 1801, he professed faith in Christ, and was baptized 
by Isaac Malin into the fellowship of Drennons Ridge church. 

On the 26th of September, 1802, Alan McGuire and ten 
others were constituted a church, calledEast Fork, by Isaac Ma- 
lin and John Dupuy. This church was probably gathered princi- 
pally by the labors of Mr. McGuire, who had been liberated to 
exercise his gift, by the church on Drennon's Ridge. He was 
ordained to the ministry, and called to the pastorate of East 
Fork church, the same day it was constituted. This position he 
occupied till 1826. The church prospered under his ministry, 
and has continued to the present time a respectable body. It is 
a member of Sulphur Fork Association, and was long under the 
pastoral care of E. G. Berry. A few years past, this church 
moved its location to Smithfield on the railroad. Into its fel- 
lowship, the late John A. McGuire, long a prominent preacher 
in Sulphur Fork Association, and afterward pastor of the Bap- 
tist church in Monroe, Louisiana, was baptized by his father, in 

Alan McGuire was called to Fox Run church early in his 
ministry Here he baptized, among others, in 18 10, Samuel 
Vancleave who became a valuable preacher. Mr. McGuire was 
also, at different times, pastor of the churches at Eighteen 
Mile, Pigeon Fork, New Castle, Union Spring and Sulphur 
Fork. To the latter he was called in 1809. In this church his 
success was very remarkable. Within a few years be baptized 
about forty, and in a revival in 1817, he baptized into the fellow- 
ship of this church 165, within a period of about six months. 
Among these wbs Peter H. Vories, who was ordained to the' 
ministry in 1820, and died in 1825. 

Mr. McGuire labored much in the fields of destitution, and 
among the young churches in the surrounding counties, often 

Alan McGidrc. 287 

making long circuits in company with John Taylor, William 
Kellar, James McQuaid, sr. , George Waller and others. On 
his return from one of these tours, he was relating to his wife 
what great things the Lord had wrought by him and his fellow- 
laborers. "I saw Brother Waller," said he, "baptize a little 
boy not bigger than our John." John A., their son, who was 
only ten years old was sitting by. "I thought," said John A. 
McGuire in speaking of the circumstance, after he had been 
preaching the gospel sixty years, "if it was necessary for that 
boy to have religion, it was also necessary for me to have it, 
and from that time, I did not cease to pray, till I found peace 
in Jesus Christ." 

In 1826, Alan McGuire resigned all his charges in Ken- 
tucky, and moved to Boone county, Missouri. Here he was 
pastor of Columbia, Cedar, and other churches, and labored 
actively in the ministry, till 1834. At this date he WdS attack- 
ed with disease of the lungs of which he died, Mar. 30, 1835. 
Two of his sons, John A. and Levi became Baptist preachers. 
The former labored with much success, many years in Ken- 
tucky, and then moved to Monroe, Louisiana. The latter 
was a respectable preacher among the xA.nti-missionary Bap- 
tists of Missouri. J. M. McGuire, who preached some years 
among the churches of Sulphur Fork Association in Kentucky, 
and is now a prominent preacher in Boone county, Missouri, 
is a son of Levi McGuire, and a grandson of the famous old 
pioneer, Alan McGuire. 

Samuel Vancleave, was the first preacher raised up in 
Fox Run church. Introductory to a very brief sketch of his 
life, it may be allowable to direct the reader's attention to the 
romance of Indian warfare at the period of Mr. Vancleave's set- 
tlement in Kentucky. 

Daniel Boone made the first permanent settlement on the 
soil of Kentucky, in the summer of 1775, at Boonesborough in 
Madison county. In January, 1778, he and 27 others were cap- 
tured by the Indians, while making salt at Bluelick, and carried 
to Detroit. He remained a prisoner till the following June, 
when he escaped, and reached Boonesboro' on the 20th of that 
month. When he got back to the fort, he found that his wifp, 
supposing him to have been killed by the Indians, had taken all 
their plunder, on pack-horses, and returned to her father's in 

288 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

North Carolina. Col. Boone was too much occupied in defend- 
ing his little" colony, to go after her immediately. But when the 
Indian troubles were temporarily allayed, he went to North 
Carolina after his family, in the summer of 1780. On his re- 
turn to Kentucky, in the fall of the same year, he conducted a 
company of emigrants. Among these were his brother, 
Squire Boone, and two of his (S. Boone's) wife's brothers, nam- 
ed William and Benjamin Vancleave, and their families. 
These three families settled at Lynn's station on Little Bear- 
grass, a few miles from the Falls of Ohio. The Vancleaves 
were Presbyterians, and were in the habit of attending preach- 
ing near the fort, on Sundays. On one of these occasions, 
they were surprised by a company of hostile Indians. Those 
who had horses mounted them with all speed. Sally, a daugh- 
ter of William Vancleave, attempted to get up behind a young 
man to whom she was engaged to be married. Just as she 
had gotten her breast across the horse, an Indian warrior seiz- 
ed her, dragged her from the horse, and split her head open 
with his tomahawk. The rest of the party reached the fort in 

After remaining at Lynn's station about 18 months, Ben- 
jamin Vancleave moved to what is now Shelby county, and 
settled on Bullskin creek, where he spent the rest of his days. 

Samuel Vancleave, son of the last named, was born in N. 
Carolina, on the Yadkin river, about the year 1765. He came 
with his parents to Kentucky, in 1780. He was married to 
Elizabeth, daughter of Ahijah Woods, and settled near his par- 
ents. About three years after his marriage, while assisting 
his father in building a house, he and a young man by the 
name of Huron went to the woods to cut some poles for raf- 
ters. Idly knocking on a large tree with the pole of an ax, 
they attracted the attention of some Indians, who soon surround- 
ed them. Huron had said he would die before he would be cap- 
tured. As soon as he saw the situation, he flew to a sappling, 
locked his hands around it, and awaited his fate. The Indians 
attempted to pull him loose, but failing to do so, they killed 
him with their tomahawks. Vancleave attempted to escape 
by running, but was soon captured. 

The Indians carried him to the shore of Lake Michigan. 
Here he met with a young man of the name of Scott, who had 

Samuel Vancleave. 289 

been captured in Ohio. They spent about eight months to- 
gether in the Indian camp. When they had so far gained the 
confidence of the Indians as to be allowed to hunt, unattended, 
they made their escape. After traveling several days and 
nights, they reached the Ohio river near the present site of 
Cincinnati. Scott turned eastward in search of his home, and 
Vancleave crossed the river and traveled westward in search of 
his family, whom he found at his father's. 

Mr. Vancleave was an industrious, energetic man, and ac- 
cumulated some property. But he was excessively fond of 
revelry, and openly professed to be a Deist. This greatly 
grieved his pious parents. He continued his wild career till 
about the year 1809. While engaged in building a brick resi- 
dence for himself, he talked much about a big ball, which he 
intended to have as soon as his house should be finished. 
One day, while talking with his workmen on his favorite sub- 
ject — the ball — he laid a course of brick, and started to dance 
back to the other end of the scaffold. When he got about the 
middle of the scaffold, he seemed to hear a voice repeating 
distinctly in his ear the words : "Thou fool ! this night shall 
thy soul be required of thee !" He came down from the scaf- 
fold and walked into his house, trembling like Belshazzar. He 
sent for his parents and friends, expecting to die that night. 
For several days he was so overwhelmed with a sense of his 
great wickedness, that he could not eat or drink. His friends 
became greatly alarmed about him. But finally he found great 
peace and joy in a vivid sense of pardon through Jesus Christ. 
In April, 18 10, he was baptized into the fellowship of Fox 
Run church by Alan McGuire. In the following December, 
he was licensed to exercise his gifts. 

After a short probation, he was ordained to the full work 
of the ministry, and, after preaching a few years in Shelby, and 
the adjoining counties, moved to Putnam county, la. Here 
he spent the remainder of his days in zealous and efficient la- 
bor in the gospel. 

It was probably not far from the year 1840, when, on his 
return from a preaching appointment, he was overtaken by a 
violent storm. He was riding a spirited young horse. The 
animal became frightened and dashed suddenly under a tree 
that had fallen and lodged just over the road. Mr. Vancleave 

2QO History of Kentucky Baptists. 

was hurled violently to the ground. Some friends hurried to 
him and raised him up. But his neck was disjointed, and his 
spirit had already flown.* 

William Ford, a member and deacon of Fox Run church, 
was one of the earliest settlers of what is now Henry county. 
He was born in South Carolina, January 25, 1753, received a 
liberal English education, studied the art of surveying, and 
adopted it as his profession. In early life he was married to 
Casandria Ford of Maryland. This amiable young lady was 
well fitted for the wife of a pioneer. She had passed through 
the fiery ordeal of frontier life and savage cruelty. When she 
was about 12 years old, the Indians made a sudden attack on her 
father's dwelling, and killed both of her parents. She received 
a deep wound in her head from the stroke of a tomahawk, and 
was carried off a prisoner. After being carried about with the 
Indians, about ten days, and suffering much from the severity of 
her wound, and the cruelty of her captors, she was recognized 
by an old Indian who had "eaten salt" at her father's cabin. 
He purchased her, and returned her to her friends. 

Some years after his marriage, Mr. Ford moved to Ken- 
tucky, and remained a short time in Van Cleave's Station on 
Bullskin, in Shelby county. He then moved to what is now 
Henry county, and settled near the present site of Eminence. 
He united with Fox Run church, and became one of its dea- 
cons. At the formation of Long Run Association in 1803, he 
was chosen its clerk, a position he filled nine years. He was 
an excellent citizen, and was quite prominent among the pioneer 
Baptists. He died in 1835. 

William W. Ford, son of the above, was born in South 
Carolina, May 18, 1785, and came with his parents to Kentucky, 
in very early times. He received only such an . education as 
the children of the western colonists usually obtained. He could 
"read and write and cipher a little." In the 21st year of 
his age, he won the heart of Elizabeth, daughter of Elder John 
Metcah. Her parents opposing the match, the young couple 
" ran away" and were married, January 13, 1806. Not long 
after his marriage, he obtained hope in Christ, and was bap- 
tized into the fellowship of Fox Run church, by Alan McGuire. 

'■Eecollections of Daniel Harris, 

William W. Ford. 291 

Soon after this, he took a letter of dismission and joined 
Six-mile church, in Shelby county. In 1810, he was chosen 
a deacon of that church, and was much impressed with a sense 
of its being his duty to preach the gospel. But he was of a 
timid disposition, and the wife who had manifested her dis- 
obedience to her parents by marrying him against their wishes, 
in turn used all her influence to keep him in disobedience to 
his Master. But the chastening of the Lord finally prevailed, 
and he was licensed to preach in April, 1824, and ordained the 
following August. 

Mr. Ford was now past the fortieth year of his age. He 
felt that he had lost much time, and gave himself very actively 
to the work of the Lord. Li a short time he was one of the 
most popular and useful preachers in Franklin Association. In 
1828 he was elected moderator of that body. In this capacity 
he served the succeeding four years. This was during the stormy 
period of the Campbellite schism. 

Mr. Ford was pastor of four churches, during most of his 
mini.stry. Among those he served in that capacity were Six- 
mile, Fox Run, Buffalo Lick, Indian Fork, and Brashears Creek. 
Like other active pastors of his generation he did much mission 
work.* He died at his home in Christiansburg, in full assurance 
of hope, June 30, 1841. 

Mr. Ford was, at first a Hyper-Calvinist, but afterwards 
adopted the views of Andrew Fuller. He was very familiar with 
the Bible, and though uneducated, his language was good, and 
he was an easy, fluent speaker. He was tender and persuasive 
in his address, and often wept freely when speaking of the love 
of God, the sufferings of Christ, or when exhorting sinners to 

John C. Freeman was called to the pastorate of Fox Run 
church, in i860. He baptized fifty-three the first year of his pas- 

Mr. Freeman was born in Anderson county, Kentucky, 
October 14, 1832, graduated at Georgetown College, in 1857, 
was licensed to preach at Salem church in Shelby county, (where 
he had been baptized by N.C.Beckham, inNoi}., 1846,) in July, 
1854, and ordained in June, 1858, to the pastoral care of Old 

•■"He labored much among the destitute. 

292 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Clear Creek church, in Woodford county. In i860, he was 
called to Fox Run church, where he served four years. He 
has since been pastor of several country churches around Lex- 
ington, near which he now (1885) resides on a farm, and 
preaches to Bryant's church, in Fayette county. 

BuLLiTTSBURG is not Only the oldest church on the Ohio 
river below Cincinnati, but it has been from an early period, 
one of the largest and most influential country churches in the 
State ; for it is strictly a country church, notwithstanding its 
name. It has been in the very front rank in advocating home 
and foreign missions, theological education and other benevolent 
enterprises, ever since the days of Absalom Graves. 

About 1793, a colony of some dozen or more families 
crossed over an unbroken wilderness of some eighty miles in 
breadth, from the settlements on Elkhorn to the bank of the 
Ohio, in what is now Boone county and formed a small settle- 
ment. They were mostly from Clear creek, in Woodford 
county. Among them were seven Baptists, one of whom, Lewis 
Deweese, was a licensed preacher. Most of them had been mem- 
bers of Clear Creek church, and the faithful John Taylor, did 
not neglect to look after these lambs of his fold. Joseph Red- 
ding, of Great Crossing also went among them. 

Bullittsburg church was constituted in June, 1794, by 
Joseph Redding and John Taylor. The following persons were 
in the constitution: Lewis Deweese, John and Elizabeth Hall, 
Chichester and Agnes Matthews, and Joseph and Leannah 

The following April, John Taylor moved to this new settle- 
ment, and united with the church. Soon afterwards, George 
Eve, a good preacher, and a number of others moved from Vir- 
ginia, and united with the young church. The fraternity grew 
in number, but only from immigration. During the first five 
years of its history, only one person was baptized for its fellow- 
ship, and he was excluded two months after he was baptized 

This was a season of deep gloom in religious circles all over 
Kentucky. Meanwhile, the unconverted around Bullittsburg, 
were deeply immersed in the popular amusements of the day, 
and especially in what they then called frolicking. John Taylor 
who was the principal preacher at this place, speaking of that 
period, says: ' * I had never been so thoroughly cowed down by 

Bullittsburg. 293 

discouragement through the course of my ministry, as now, 
though it had been in action for twenty-five years, and really 
thought I had better be dead than alive; for I felt as if satan had 
gotten the mastery where I lived. So that I could say from 
my soul, 'Woe is me that I sojourn in Meshech, and that I dwell 
in the tents of Keder. ' " But the morning star was about to rise 
and disperse the gloom. At the June meeting, in 1800, four 
were received for baptism. The revival spread over the settle- 
ment like fire in a dry prairie. It continued about two years, 
during which 152 were added to Bullittsburg church by baptism, 
and a large number by letter ; so that while Dry Creek church 
had been constituted of members dismissed from it, in July, 
1800, it reported to Elkhorn Association, in 1802, 197 mem- 
bers. It was one of nine churches which formed North Bend 
Association, in 1803. Of this body, it has continued a leading 
member to the present time. In 181 1, another extensive re- 
vival occurred in the bounds of the church, during the contin- 
uance of which, 170 were added to its number, swelling its mem- 
bership to 319. The next revival which occurred in this church 
was in 1817, when it received 165 by Baptism, increasing its 
membership to 395. Again, in 1824, a revival resulted in 118 

Bullittsburg has enjoyed an almost uninterrupted course 
of prosperity. She lost only three or four members by the Camp- 
bellite schism, and about a dozen by the Antimission schism. 
Her records show that during the first seventy-eight years of her 
existence, she received by baptism 974, colonized eight churches, 
licensed twenty-seven of her members to preach the gospel, and 
ordained fourteen ministers. * She has had connected with her, 
about forty ministers, brief biographical sketches of only a few 
ofwh-.m maybe added here. Of John Taylor and Joseph Redding 
sketches have already been given. 

William Cave, who with John Taylor and Joseph Red- 
ding, was instrumental in gathering Bullittsburg church, was a 
native of Orange county, Va. His father, Benjamin Cave, was 
a prominent citizen, and frequently represented Orange county 
in the General Assembly of Virginia. 

William Cave was born about the year 1740. He was 

J. A. Kirtley has published a history of Bullittsburg church, to which I 
am indebted for valuable information. 

294 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

raised an Episcopalian, and received a better education than 
most boys of that period. Not far from the year 1768, he 
was converted to God under the ministry of Samuel Harris 
and James Reed, by one of whom he was baptized. When 
Lewis Craig moved to Kentucky, in the fall of 1781, bringing 
Spottsylvania church with him, William Cave was one of the 
company and was consequently a member of the first Gilbert's 
Creek church in Garrard county. Of this church Mr. Cave 
remained a member several years. In May, 1785, having moved 
to Scott county, he went into the constitution of Great Crossing 
church. About 1795, he moved to Boone county, and united 
with Bullittsburg church. The next year he was ordained an el- 
der. This was an office distinct from that of a preacher, in 
some of the Baptist churches of that period. In June, 1800, Mr. 
Cave was encouraged to exercise his gift in preaching, and, the 
next year was ordained to the ministry. He was now more than 
sixty years old, but he entered into the labors of his holy calling 
with much zeal. He preached principally on the borders of the 
settlement, and baptized a number of persons. He had been a val- 
uable church member for more than thirty years. He had been 
a justice of the peace both in Virginia and Kentucky, and so 
prudent was his course of life that John Taylor says : " I never 
saw any man, I had rather imitate than William Cave." But 
his ministry was short. He died of a protracted fever and the 
improper use of medicine, in 1806. 

George Eve was an early preacher in Bullittsburg church. 
He was born in Culpeper county, Va., 1748, and was raised 
an Episcopalian, but under the preachingof the renowned David 
Thomas, he was converted, and joined the Baptists in 1772. 
He soon began to exhort, and, in 1778, was ordained to the min- 
istry. He took charge of F. T. church, and, after Elijah Craig's 
removal to Kentucky, Blue Run in Orange county. For a num- 
ber of years he preached with "astonishing success" in his 
native State, and large numbers were led to the Savior under his 

In 1797, he moved to Kentucky and settled in Boone 
county. Here he joined Bullittsburg church, and was a preacher 
in it about three years. He then moved to what is now Frank- 
lin county, and joined Great Crossing church. About this 
time "the great revival" commenced. Mr. Eve was very ac- 

George Eve. 295 

tive, giving almost his entire time to preaching. A great many- 
were added to the churches under his ministry. May 2, 1801, 
he and WilHam Hickman constituted North Fork church, of 
nineteen members, near Mr. Eve's residence. Of this church 
he became a member. 

Up to this period, and for some years afterward, Mr. Eve's 
Hfe was most exemplary. His piety, meekness, amiability and 
great usefulness, rendered him popular and beloved, to a de- 
gree seldom surpassed. He had the care of several churches, 
and his popularity seemed to be greater than ever before. He 
was connected with some of the most distinguished families in 
the State. His wife was a sister of Col. Robert Johnson, and, 
consequently, an aunt of Col. R. M. Johnson, James Johnson, 
and John T. Johnson, the first of whom was Vice President ot 
the United States, and all of whom served in the United States 
Congress. But with all his exalted connections and great pop- 
ularity, he was still the same meek, amiable and beloved minister 
•of Jesus. But alas for the frailty of human nature. " Let no 
man count himself happy until he is dead," said an ancient 
philosopher. In his old age, and contrary to the expectation 
•of all who knew him, this most lovely man fell by the use 01 
strong drink, and was excluded from North Fork church. He 
was restored, and again went on preaching for a time. But the 
tempter overcame him, and he was expelled a second time, 
after which he returned to the church no more, but soon went 
the way of all the earth. 

As a preacher Mr. Eve was below mediocrity. As an ex- 
horter he greatly excelled, and his gift of song was marvel- 

Lewis Deweese was a licensed preacher, and a man 
advanced in life, when he went into the constitution of Bullitts- 
burg church. In September, 1797, he was ordained by John 
Taylor and George Eve. He entered earnestly into the work 
of the Lord, and made such rapid improvement that ' ' he soon 
became one of the most acceptable preachers in Boone county. " 

In 1809, he moved to the White Water settlement in In- 
■diana, where he was a useful preacher, and was frequently Mod- 
erator of White Water Association. 

James Lee was "born again" at old Clear Creek, in Wood- 
ford county, and was baptized for membership in that chucrh, 

296 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

by John Taylor in the summer of 1786. After two or three 
years, he moved to the south side of Kentucky river, where 
he was instrumental in raising up a small church on Silver creek 
in Madison county. In 1796, he moved to Campbell county, and 
took membership in Bullittsburg church. Here in Sep., 1797, he 
was ordained to the ministry by John Taylor and George Eve, 
"This heavenly minded man" says John Taylor, "was soon 
called forward to ordination. I call him a heavenly minded man 
because in his deportment there was a greater image of the 
Savior in him than was commonly seen. With his great 
power of self-government, he never seemed caught off his 
guard. He was often in tears, and his smiles seemed to have 
something of heaven in them." After laboring a short time 
about Bullittsburg, he moved to Ohio, where he preached many 
years with great success, and died not far from 1824, before the 
infirmities of old age came upon him. 

Chichester Matthews was born and raised in Fauquier 
county, Virginia. In 1780, at the age of twenty-four, he was 
married to Agnes Walters, in his native county. In 1784, he 
moved to South Carolina. Here, in June, 1786, he obtained 
hope in the Savior of sinners, and was baptized by Joseph Red- 
ding, into the fellowship of Turkey Creek church. A few 
years after this, he moved to Kentucky, and settled in Scott 
county, where he united with Great Crossing church. After 
a short stay here he moved to what is now Boone county, and 
in June, 1794, with six others, went into the constitution of 
Bullittsburg church. Just a year from this time he was or- 
dained the first deacon of this church. He " used the office of 
a deacon well," and in June, 1800, was licensed to preach the 

For several years he made but few atternpts to preach, and 
it was not until the great revival in Bullittsburg church, in 181 1, 
that he became active in the exercise of his gift. His improve- 
ment in speaking was such that, In October, 18 12, he was or- 
dained to the full work of the ministry. From the time of his 
ordination, till 18 19, he was associated with Absalom Graves, 
in ministering to the church of which he was a member, and 
was esteemed for his practical wisdom and faithfulness. 

On the 20th of March, 1819, Mr. Matthews went into the 
constitution of Sand Run church, in Boone county. Here he 

Absalom Graves. igy 

ministered with other preachers to the close of his earthly pil- 
grimage, which occurred September 7, 1828. 

Absalom Graves was among the most distinguished 
preachers that was raised up in old Bullittsburg, or that has 
labored within the bounds of North District Association. He 
was born in what is now Madison county, Va., November 28, 
1868. He received a liberal English education, for that period. 
He was made sensible of his lost condition under the ministry 
of George Eve, by whom he was baptized in August, 1788, 
when he became a member of the church at Rapidan meeting- 
house. Some time after his conversion, he was married to Fe- 
licia White, who made him a good wife. 

Early in 1797 he moved to Kentucky, and settled in Boone 
county, where he and his wife united with Bullittsburg church, 
of which he was soon afterward chosen clerk. He was also ap- 
pointed clerk of the Circuit Court of Boone county. In 1803, 
at the formation of North Bend Association, he was chosen 
clerk of that body, and continued to fill the position twenty 
years. In March, 1801, he was ordained to the deaconship. 
In this office he was prompt and faithful. Meanwhile he had 
strong impressions of duty to preach the gospel, but his ex- 
treme timidity, for a longtime kept him from assuming the sol- 
emn responsibility. But his agony of mind became so great 
that he at last yielded to a conviction of duty, and was licensed 
to preach in 1810. Of him John Taylor says, "There is no 
thanks due this man for preaching, for though a man of good 
information, he, through native modesty and timidity of mind, 
kept back so long that it seemed as if agony of soul would kill 
him, and it was preach or die. " 

Soon after he was licensed, an extensive revival pervaded 
the churches of North Bend Association, and continued about 
a year. During this blessed work of grace, Mr. Graves, though 
too timid to be a leader, was a very active and efficient laborer. 
His improvement in speaking was such that he was ordained in 
April, 18 1 2. For the next seven years, he and Chichester Mat- 
thews, who was ordained to the ministry in October of the same 
year, were co-laborers in the pastoral work of Bullittsburg 
church. After this he was associated with James Dicken and 
Robert Kirtley, in the same work. In this relation, he was suc- 
cessful in an eminent degree. In three revivals, each of which 

298 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

continued about a year, during the period of Mr. Graves' min- 
istry at Bullittsburg, 453 members were added to that church. 

But his labors were by no means confined to the church of 
which he was a member. He was a man of enlarged public 
spirit, and fully recognized the great truth that "the field is the 

His labors were extensive throughout North Bend Associa- 
tion, and even beyond its bounds. He was among the first 
preachers in Kentucky to warmly espouse the cause of Foreign 
Missions. ''Receiving a missionary spirit in its warmest glow," 
says Taylor, ' 'from the time of his first acquaintance with Luth- 
er Rice, has given him a growth that he never would have had 
only for that circumstance." Among other services he ren- 
dered the cause of Christ, and among the last was the compil- 
ing and publishing of a hymn book, titled Graves' Hymns, which 
was held in high esteem. After a most valuable ministry of 
about sixteen years, he fell asleep in Jesus, August 17, 1826. 

As a preacher Mr. Graves "was not above the middle 
grade." "Perhaps," continues Taylor, "the gospel of the Sa- 
vior never came better recommended by human character." He 
was a preacher of intense application, both to study and labor, 
and was a growing man in the ministry to the last. 

James Dicken was a preacher i Bullittsburg church, con- 
temporary with Graves and Matthews. He was born in Madi- 
son county, Va., in 1785, and moved with his parents to Boone 
county, Ky., about the year 1800. At the age of twenty-three 
he married Peggy Ann Cloud, a young lady of his immediate 
neighborhood. He, with his wife, joined Bullittsburg church 
by experience and baptism during the great revival of 181 1. 
He was licensed to preach July 3, 1819, and ordained June 3, 
1820. He was now about thirty-five years of age, and a young 
man of excellent promise. But his ministry was destined to be 
short. Six years of zealous and useful labor closed his earthly 
toils and sufferings. He died of a violent fever, June 10, 1826. 
He was a good man^ a good preacher, a faithful servant of his 
Master, and was deserving of remembrance by the people of 

Landon Robinson was converted to God and added to Bul- 
littsburg church in 181 1. Two years afterward the church en- 
couraged him to exercise his gift. In 1820 he was licensed to 

Jeremiah Kirtley. 299 

preach, and the same year, took a letter and united with Sand 
Run church. Here his gift appeared so profitable that on April 
25, 1823, he was ordained to the ministry by Chichester Mat- 
thews, Christopher Wilson and James Dicken. Being unmar- 
ried, Mr. Robinson traveled and preached extensively, and, 
although possessing but medium ability, his purity of life, 
meekness and agreeable manners, enabled him to exercise a 
good influence. But his ministry was very short. He died in 

Jeremiah Kirtley deserves to be held in remembrance, not 
only because of his own intrinsic excellence, but because he 
was the ancestor of many valuable men, living and dead. May 
he never lack for a son to fill the pastorate of BuUittsburg 
church as worthily as his son Robert and his grandson James 
A. have filled it. 

Jeremiah Kirtley was probably a native of what now is Mad- 
ison county, Va. He was brought up an Episcopalian, but in 
1788, under the ministry of George Eve, he was "born of the 
Spirit." He, and his wife, Mary, united with the Baptist church 
at Rapidan meeting-house. In 1796, he emigrated to Kentucky, 
and settled at North Bend in Boone county. Here, he, with 
his wife, united with BuUittsburg church, and was soon after- 
wards ordained an Elder in that body, a nominal officer in 
some Baptist churches of that day, which, as the government 
of those churches then, as now, was purely democratic, seems 
to have been an officer without an office. It was practically a 
mere title of respect. 

William Cave shared the honor with Mr. Kirtley, at BuUitts- 
burg. They were the only elders that church ever had. In 
June, 1800, Elders Kirtley and'Cave were licensed to exercise 
their preaching gifts. Mr. Cave was afterward ordained and 
was esteemed a good preacher. Mr. Kirtley exercised his gift 
in exhortation acceptably, a few years, when he and Mr. Cave 
died about the same time in 1806, the former in the prime of 

Robert Kirtley was a preacher of eminent usefulness, and 
was greatly beloved during the whole of his long and faithful 
ministry. He was devoted to his sacred calling, kept his gar- 
ments unspotted from the world, was very practical in his min- 
istration and was progressive in his preaching, even to old 

300 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

age. He was, many years, the leading preacher of North Bend 
Association, of which he was Moderator thirty-two years. 

Robert Kirtley was born in what is now Madison county, 
Va., May 30, 1786. He was brought by his parents, Jeremiah 
and Mary Kirtley, to Boone county, Ky., in 1796. Here he 
grew up, having for a period of only eighteen months the ad- 
vantages of some of the best schools in the country. At the 
age of twenty, he married Mary, daughter of Asa Thompson, 
who was long a deacon of Bryant's church in Fayette county. 
The fruits of this marriage were nine sons and one daughter. 
Four of these survived their father. Mr. Kirtley was an ener- 
getic and industrious man, and prospered in the vocation of a 
farmer, from his youth. He ultimately acquired a considerable 

From his youth he was the subject of strong religious im- 
pression, but put off seeking a personal interest in the Savior, 
till he was about twenty-five years of age. In January, 181 1, 
his wife was converted, and immediately joined BuUittsburg 
church. This had a strong effect on the mind of her husband. 
For a time he struggled to conceal or stifle his convictions. But 
the spirit of God overcame, and he finally yielded to his (the 
Holy Spirit's) overpowering influence. He obtained the blessed 
hope of salvation, and, on the second Sunday in February, 181 1, 
was baptized by Christopher Wilson into the fellowship of Bul- 
littsburg church. The next year, war breaking out between the 
United States and Great Britain, Mr. Kirtley entered the service 
as Lieutenant in a Kentucky regiment, and was under General 
Harrison during the Northwestern campaign. His fellow sol- 
diers testified that he maintained a Christian character while in 
the army. On his return home he resumed the duties of a 
church member, and the close study of the Bible. On the 8th 
of June, 1 8 17, he was ordained a deacon of his church, and 
faithfully served in that capacity, about two years. During this 
period a glorious revival prevailed not only in BuUittsburg 
church, and North Bend Association, but all over the State. 
During the prevalency of this revival, Mr. Kirtley showed much 
interest in the salvation of sinners, and was greatly enlarged in 
his spirituality. He exercised his gift in persuading and exhort- 
ing sinners to repent and come to the Savior. On the first Sat- 
urday in July, 1 8 19, the church licensed him to preach the gos- 

BitlUttsbiirg ChiircJi. 301 

pel, wherever his lot might be cast. During the next three years 
he preached in his own and the neighboring churches, and, in com- 
pany with other preachers, extended his labors to the adjoining 
counties. He declined ordination until the church urged it upon 
him, as a duty, the second time. Finally, he gave his consent 
and was ordained to the full work of the ministry, on the second 
Sunday in August, 1822, by Absalom Graves, Chichester Mat- 
thews, and James Dicken. Jointly with Graves and Dicken he 
served Bullittsburg as a preacher the next four years. In 1826 
Graves and Dicken were both called to their reward above. Mr. 
Kirtley was now the only preacher in this large church. 

Up to this period, although of thirty-two years standing, 
Bullittsburg church had never had a pastor, at least in the mod- 
em sense of that term. John Taylor was its first preacher. After 
a short experience in the pastoral office of Clear Creek church, 
in Woodford county, he resigned that position, and could never 
be induced to accept the pastorate of any church afterward, nor 
would he preach statedly to any church of which he was not a 
member, except in cases of extreme necessity, on the part of a 
destitute church. He formed Bullittsburg church in this mould. 
Hence, all the preachers of her membership were equal co-la- 
borers in the pastoral work and responsibilities, and no one of 
them had any preeminence over another, except in so far as age, 
experience, or superior abilities conferred superior influence. 
Hence, when Graves and Dicken died, Mr. Taylor wrote as 
follows : 

"Bullittsburg church is now in a lower condition as to the 
gospel ministry than any time for more than thirty years past. 
She has but one preacher in this very large church, Robert 
Kirtley, who was baptized among them; a respectable man, and 
respectable preaching talents There are a num- 
ber ot men in the church capable to go forward and assist Broth- 
er Kirtley. May the Lord stir them up." 

But none of those men came forward to help, and Mr. 
Kirtley had to bear the burden alone for the time. He was, 
in reality, the first pastor of Bullittsburg church, though not 
formally so recognized by the church. He saw but sparse fruits 
of his labor, in his own church, for a period of thirteen years. 
In 1839, ^ revival pervaded Bullittsburg and the neighboring 
churches, and, among others, Mr. Kirtley baptized two of his 

202 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

sons. One of these sons now occupies most worthily the pulpit, 
made vacant by the death of his venerable father. The other is 
also a preacher in North Bend Association. About this time, 
the scheming of some anti-missionary preachers from Licking 
Association was culminating in widespread disaffection in North 
Bend Association. In the latter part of the year 1840, six 
churches, with their ministers, drew off from this Association, 
and formed "Salem Association of Predestinarian Baptists.'' 
Mr. Kirtley called an extra session of North Bend Association, 
and, in due time, proper means were used for refuting the vul- 
gar misrepresentations of these fanatical schismatics. The ex- 
citement among the churches was soon measurably calmed. 
The severe trial through which Mr. Kirtley passed during this 
gloomy period, only refined and elevated him, and developed 
all his latent powers. The Divine blessing attended his labors, 
and, in 1842, a revival commenced at Bullittsburg, 
and spread over the Association, during the continuance of 
which larger numbers of members were added to the churches 
than had been lost by the schism. 

In 185 I, Mr. Kirtley lost his wife. He was now sixty-five 
years old, but he enjoyed extraordinary physical strength and 
excellent health, and his labors were not diminished. In 1853, 
his labors were blessed with another precious revival at Bullitts- 
burg, and fifty members were added to the church. About 
this time, his son, James A. Kirtley, was associated with him 
in his pastoral labors. In 1858, his second wife died. The 
feebleness of old age was now creeping over him. He gradually 
withdrew from the responsibilities of the pastorate, but con- 
tinued to preach according to the measure of his strength, till 
Christmas day of 1871, when he preached his last sermon. He 
spent the remainder of the winter in reading the word of God, 
and in speaking to his visiting brethren concerning the King- 
dom of God. On the 9th of April, 1872, the good and great 
man went to his eternal reward. 

James A. Kirtley, son of Robert Kirtley, and present 
pastor of Old Bullittsburg church, was born in Boone county, 
Kentucky, May 26, 1822. In his boyhood, he attended the 
common schools of his neighborhood. He made a profession 
of religion, and, with his brother Robert E., was baptized by 
his father, the first Sunday in November, 1839, ^"<^ united with 

James A. Kittley, 303 

the church of which he is now pastor. He was Hcensed to preach 
in 1842, having, for a year previous, exercised in public prayer 
and exhortation, and entered Georgetown College the same 
year. He was compelled to leave college, in the spring of 18/^4., 
on account of a temporary failure of his eyes. During his col- 
lege days, he devoted his vacations to active labor in preaching 
the gospel. 

He was ordained at BulHttsburg, the first Sunday in 
October, 1844, by Robert I^irtley, Asa Drury, and William 
Whitaker. He was associated with his father in pastoral work, 
about three years, at the same time preaching once a month at 
Warsaw, Kentucky. In 1849, he accepted a call to East Church 
in Louisville, where he remained two years, and baptized 60 or 
70 persons. He had preached the two years previous to this, in 
Madison, Indiana. In 185 i, having partly recovered from feeble- 
ness of health, he commenced laboring partly as a missionary 
in the bounds of North Bend Association, and partly as a pas- 
toral co-laborer with his father. As his father advanced in age,, 
the responsibility gradually fell on the son. He has now preached 
to BuUittsburg and Big Bone churches, more than thirty years. 
He has also supplied some other churches, at different times. 
He has written a respectable volume on "The Design of 
Baptism," and some smaller works of history and biography. 
He has served as Moderator- of the State Ministers' meeting, and 
has been sixteen years Moderator of North Bend Association. 
He is filling well the place left vacant by his venerable father. 
He heartily co-operates in the benevolent enterprises of his de- 
nomination ; and the country can boast few more valuable 
ministers than James A. Kirtley. 

Robert E. Kirtley, another son of Robert Kirtley, is also a 
preacher among the churches of North Bend Association. 

Alfred C. Graves, a great grandson of Absalom Graves, 
was born in Boone county, Kentucky, January 5, 1838. 
He was educated at Georgetown College. At fifteen years 
of age he professed conversion, and united with BuUitts- 
burg church, in September, 1853. At the age of seventeen, he 
was encouraged by the church to exercise a public gift, and, in 
1859, "^^s fully licensed to preach the gospel. He completed 
his theological studies at the Western Baptist Theological Sem- 
inary, in i860, and, in September of the same year, was or- 

304 Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. 

dained to the ministry, at Bullittsburg, by Robert Kirtley, 
James A. Kirtley, Wm. Whitaker, and others. He immediately 
took charge of the church at Harrodsburg. After two years, he 
was called to Jefferson (now Chestnut) Street church, Louis- 
ville. After serving this church about one year, he took editorial 
charge of the Weste>7i Recorder. While in Louisville, he pub- 
lished a biography of A. W. LaRue, under the title of ' ' LaRue's 
Ministry of Faith," and preached one year to Portland Avenue 
church of that city. In 1867, he \^as called to Stamping Ground 
church in Scott county, where he remained four years. There 
he was married to Miss Annie D. Smith, who has made him an 
excellent wife. 

In January, 1871, Mr. Graves was called to the First Baptist 
Church in Manchester, New Hampshire. There he remained 
six years, during which the church received 171 members, 92 
by baptism, and built an elegant house of worship. His health 
becoming enfeebled from over work in a city pastorate, he ac- 
cepted a call to the Baptist church at Lebanon, Kentucky, in 
1877, where he still remains (1885). 

Of the five churches constituted in Kentucky, in 1794, four 
still exist, and, at least, three of them are strong, influential 
bodies ; from them, have been constituted almost a sufficient 
number of churches to form three respectable associations, and 
they have probably raised preachers enough to supply more 
than 200 pulpits with monthly preaching. It was a good year's 
work for the pioneer fathers, all of whom have long since gone 
to their reward, where their works do follow them. 



m'connels run, cartwrights, forks of licking, blue ash 
and otter creek churches. 

In the beginning of the year, 1795, the rehgious outlook 
was not less gloomy than it had been a year before. At the 
fall meetings of the four associations in the State, sixty-eight 
churches had been reported. These contained an aggregate 
membership which may be fairly estimated at 4,019, and the 
baptisms during the year at seventy-two, little more than one 
to a church. While the State was filling up with an immense tide 
of immigration, from Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas, 
in which States the Baptists formed a prominent, if not the dom- 
inant sect, the aggregate increase of church members in 
Kentucky was so small as to be merely nominal. The loss in 
proportion to the population was large. Yet it is difficult to 
discover any adequate cause for such a decided religious declen- 
sion. The country was enjoying entire peace, and the earth 
was yielding abundant harvests. The excitement in political 
circles in regard to opening the Mississippi to free navigation, 
would produce but little effect on the masses of the people. 
There was some emigration from Kentucky to Missouri and 
the "Illinois country." "The old Kentucky pioneer," Daniel 
Boone, moved west of the Mississippi river in 1795, and a small 
church had been constituted at the mouth of Silver creek, in 
Madison county, to move to the " Illinois country."* But the 
emigration was not sufficiently large to seriously affect the 
churches. A few small churches were constituted this year, 
most of which have long since passed away, and even their 
names have been forgotten. But the historian is expected to 
record what Jias been rather than what is. It is fit, therefore, 

*This was probably the church gathered by James Lee. spoken of in the 
preceding chapter. 


3o6 History of Kentucky Baptists. , 

that the names, and what Httle can be ascertained of the history 
of these churches, should find a place here. 

Cartwrights Creek church was located on a small water- 
course from which it derives its name, in what is now Marion 
county. It was constituted a separate Baptist church, in 1795, 
and united with South Kentucky Association, the same year. 
It continued in this Association till South District was formed 
in 1802, when it took the appellation of United Baptist, and 
remains a member of the latter association, till the present time, 
having moved its location to Lebanon. 

It has not been definitely ascertained who gathered this 
church, but that honor is probably due to Joseph Milburn, of 
whom little is known, except that he was ordained to the min- 
istry at Pottengers Creek, in Nelson county, and was pastor of 
Cartwright's Creek church, in 1799. The church seems never to 
have been large; yet it held some very prominent citizens in its 
membership. In 1806, it contained twenty-six members, in 
1844, it had thirty-nine members, and, in 1856, it reached a 
membership of fifty-eight. 

Owen Owens was a preacher in this church at an early pe- 
riod. He was born in North Wales, in October, 1746. At 
seventeen years of age, he went to London, and two years after- 
ward, set sail for America. He landed at Philadelphia. From 
there he went to Augusta county, Va., and thence to Holston 
river; here the spirit of the Lord overtook the wanderer. He 
professed conversion, and was baptized into Cherokee church 
by James Keel. Thence he came to Kentucky, and was or- 
dained to the ministry, in Madison county, by Andrew Tribble, 
Christopher Harris and Peter Woods. He settled early in what 
was then Washington county, and united with the Cartwrights 
Creek church. He appears to have been held in esteem by the 
church. But, adopting emancipation views, and not being able 
to bring the church over to his doctrine, he and his wife with- 
drew from its fellowship, in January, 1807.* He was then far 
advanced in years, and probably never returned to the church. 

Joel Gordon became pastor of Cartwrights Creek church 
about the year, 18 13. Those who knew this venerable man of 
God, even when he was eighty years old, are likely to retain a 

■•■'Carter Tarrant's History of the Emancipation movement in Kentucky, 
page 13. 

, Joel Gordon. 307 

vivid recollection of his appearance, as long as memory lasts. 
He was fully six feet high, almost as straight as a youth, and 
dressed as scrupulously neat as if he had been a young man 
going to see his sweetheart. His eyes were bright and beam- 
ing, his " hair was white like wool," but as neatly combed as 
that of a young lady dressed for a party, and his ruddy coun- 
tenance beamed with a gentle, mild brightness that must have 
charmed all who looked upon his face, while every movement 
of his person and intonation of his voice exhibited the grace and 
dignity of a courtier. Yet his manner was so simple and unaf- 
fected that he drew to him all who came within the sphere of 
his influence. His constant theme was the love of God; that 
love filled his own soul, and was reflected from every feature of 
his countenance. 

Mr. Gordon was born in King county, Va. , June, 1782. 
He was the sixth of eleven children born to his parents, not one 
of whom died under sixty-five years of age. He came with his 
parents to Kentucky, and with them settled in Washington 
county, in February, 1797. After several months struggle with 
sin and unbelief, he obtained a joyous hope in Christ, and was 
baptized by John Penny into the fellowship of Cartwrights 
Creek church, of which Joseph Milburnwas pastor, in the spring 
of 1800. A few months afterwards, he moved his membership to 
Pleasant Run church in Washington county, where he was pres- 
ently licensed to exercise his gift in exhortation. His zealous 
exhortations were speedily blessed of God, in bringing sinners 
to salvation. 

In 1804, he married Nancy Bradburn, of Fayette county. 
She was very young and unconverted, but was soon afterward 
led to the Savior by the faithfulness of her godly husband. Soon 
after his marriage he moved to Green county, where he united 
with Sand Lick church. There he held meetings at his own 
house, which resulted in a revival in the neighborhood, and a 
number were converted and added to Sand Lick church. About 
this time (18 12) he moved into the bounds of old Brush Creek 
church, and was immediately ordained to its pastoral care, by 
John Chandler, Joseph Cogdill and Thomas Skaggs. Here his 
labors were much blessed, and many were added to the church. 
In 1813 he moved back to Washington county, and again 
united with Cartwrights Creek church, of which he was imme- 

3o8 Histoty of Kentucky Baptists. 

diately chosen pastor. About the same time he took charge of 
Deep Creek church in Mercer and, soon afterward, of Bush 
Fork church in Washington county, to both of which he minis- 
tered about twenty-five years. He was also pastor of Doctors 
Fork church, in Boyle, and after he resigned, at Cartwrights 
Creek, of Hillsboro, in Washington. 

About 1854, he resigned the care of all his charges on ac- 
count of the encroachments of old age, and spent the twilight 
of his life with his family. Meanwhile, his interest in the cause 
of his beloved Saviornever diminished. He spoke to the peo- 
ple about the Savior, publicly, as his strength would admit. 
His was a beautiful old age, and on the 28th of March, 1867, 
his sun set without the shadow of a cloud. 

As a public speaker, Joel Gordon was below, rather than 
above mediocrity. His education and his reading were very lim- 
ited. But he read one book, believed it with all his heart, and 
practiced its precepts. He was great in zeal and consecration, 
and, depending on God for his blessings, they were not withheld. 
His grandson, Wm. T. Gordon, has recently left the Southern 
Baptist Theological Seminary, and is preaching in Florida. 

Blue Ash church, since called Bethel, was located in 
Montgomery county, and was admitted into South Kentucky 
Association, in 1795. During that year, Elijah Summars was 
installed its pastor. After a few years, Mr. Summars gave 
place to Moses Bledsoe, who had given his membership to the 
church. Mr. Bledsoe was succeeded, in 18 17, by "Raccoon" 
John Smith, under whose ministry the church attained, in 
1820, a membership of 72. After this it gradually declined, 
till 1826, when it was reported to North District Association, 
"dissolved amicably." 

Elijah Summars probably gathered Blue Ash church. At 
least, he was installed its pastor, in. 1795. After a brief term 
of service here, he moved to Green county, where he appears 
to have raised up Mt. Gilead church during the great revival 
of 1800-3. After preaching to that congregation a few years, 
he gave place to the distinguished Isaac Hodgen, and moved 
to Henry county, where he was a preacher in Drennons Creek 
(now Newcastle) church, as late as 18 12. After this, he raised 
up Rockbridge church in Washington county, and preached to 
it some years. This is the last we hear of him. 

Stamping Ground Church. 309 

Stamping Ground church, formerly McConnels Run, is 
iocated in Scott county, and was gathered by the famous Wm. 
Hickman. He commenced preaching in the settlement in a 
Mr, Ficklin's barn, and afterwards held meetings at the house 
Df John Scott, who had first invited him to the neighborhood. 

A number was baptized. These with several persons dis- 
missed from Great Crossing church, for the purpose, were 
'ormed into a church of 35 members. It was constituted by 
William Hickman, Ambrose Dudley, and William Cave, at the 
lOuse of Rhodes Smith, on the fourth Sabbath in September, 
1795. It was styled McConnels Run church, and was received 
!nto Elkhorn Association, the following year, when it reported 
1 membership of 75. Elijah Craig was chosen its pastor, at 
the time of its constitution. He held tht} position only a few 
months, when, having a large business interest to superintend ; 
being advanced in life, and having feeble health, he induced 
the church to call William Hickman to its pastoral care. Mr. 
Hickman continued to serve in this capacity, ten years, during 
which the church greatly prospered. During the year 1801, it 
received 156 members by experience and baptism, and 24 were 
baptized the next year. Jacob Creath succeeded Mr. Hick- 
man at McConnels Run, He served the church four years, 
during which only two persons were baptized into its member- 
ship, and the church decreased from 177, to 150 members. 

In 18 10, James Suggett was called to the pastoral care of 
this church and ministered to it three years, during which more 
than 50 were received by baptism. Samuel Trott was the next 
pastor. He was called about 181 3. He remained among 
them but a short time, when William Hickman was again call- 
ed, and served four years. In 18 18, fourteen members were 
dismissed to form a church on Lecompts Run. The church was 
constituted; but in February of the next year it united with the 
mother church again, a new house was built at Stamping 
Ground, McConnels Run church moved to it, and took its 
present name from its new location. James Suggett was again 
called, to the care of the church, in 18 19, and served about six 
years. Then Theodrick Boulware served the church one year. 
He was su.cceeded by Silas Mercer Noel, who served but a 
short time. 

In January, 1828, James D. Black was called to the care of 


310 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Stamping Ground church. At that time it numbered 250 mem- 
bers. He served the church thirty years, during the whole of 
which time it was remarkably prosperous. Mr. Black baptized 
into its fellowship over one thousand persons. When he re- 
signed at the close of 1857, it numbered 250 white members, 
and was the largest church in Elkhorn Association, except the 
first church in Lexington. Since that period it has changed pas- 
tors too often to be very prosperous. It is, however, still one of 
the leading churches in Elkhorn Association. 

Jacob Creath Sr., was born about the year 1770, in No- 
va Scotia, but was raised in Culpeper county, Va. His parents 
were poor, and unable to educate him. But, being a sprightly 
lad, he attracted the attention of Col. Carter, a wealthy man of 
Culpeper county, who, gaining the consent of his parents, took 
the boy to his home, raised him up under his roof, and gave 
him a fair education. When he arrived at manhood, like Jacob 
of aid, he became greatly enamored of his benefactor's daugh- 
ter. Either thinking it would be dishonorable to make love to 
her, or supposing his wooing would be ineffectual, he resolved 
to overcome his sorrows in the wilds of the great west. He 
made the necessary preparations, bade the family adieu, and 
started on his long and lonely journey, with a heavy heart. 
But the young lady, who warmly reciprocated his passion, met 
him at the door, caught him by the lapel of the coat, avowed 
her love for him, and insisted that he should not go away with- 
out taking her with him. They at once laid the case before 
her father. He interposed no objection to their marriage. 
The journey was deferred, and they were soon afterwards hap- 
pily united.* 

Mr. Creath probably moved to Kentucky, about the year 
1804. He settled near Lexington, and united with Town Fork 
church. On the death of the venerable John Gano, on the 9th 
of August of that year, Mr. Creath succeeded him in the pas- 
toral care of Town Fork church. He was better educated than 
most of the preachers in Kentucky. He was just at the prime 
of manhood, presented a fine personal appearance, ' ' was in- 
clined to be foppish in his dress," was easy and elegant in his 
address, and was probably the first orator (if John Bailey may 

*Personal recollections of Abram Lewis. 

Jacob Creath, Sr. 31 1 

not be excepted) in the Kentucky pulpit. He was bold, as- 
piring and ambitious, and possessed fine tact for carrying the 
populace with him. "When I came to Kentucky, " said the 
distinguished John Bryce,* " among the first preachers I met 
was Jacob Creath. I asked him how the brethren were getting 
on in Kentucky. He replied: ' Badly enough: all the preachers 
out here want to ride Ball.' I soon found," continued Mr. 
Bryce, " that Jacob Creath was more anxious to ride Ball than 
any other of the preachers I met with." 

Soon after Mr. Creath became a member, and the pastor, 
of Town Fork church, he proposed to exchange a negro girl he 
owned, for one owned by Thomas Lewis who was also a mem- 
ber of Town Fork church. The exchange was made, and Mr. 
Creath gave his note to Mr. Lewis, for the difference in the 
value of the slaves. A few months after the transaction, the 
girl Mr. Creath had gotten from Mr. Lewis died. When Mr. 
Creath's note to Mr. Lewis became due, the former refused 
to pay it. The matter was brought before the church, and it 
was decided that, " as Mr. Lewis was rich, and Mr. Creath was 
poor," the latter should be released from paying the' note. f 
This decision greatly offended the sense of justice in a num- 
ber of the wisest and best ministers of Elkhorn Association. 
Elijah Craig, who had been one of the most eminent and use- 
ful preachers in Virginia, a bold, blunt, out-spoken man, 
whose honest candor disdained all policy, and who had, in the 
decline of his life, become somewhat soured in his temper, 
expressed, not only his own feeling, but that of a number of 
other prominent ministers, toward Mr. Creath, in a pamphlet 
tilted " A portrait of Jacob Creath." The piece is said to have 
been written in a style of inexcusable bitterness. By this time 
the party spirit had extended all over the Association, and 
had become so intense as to be blind. Town Fork church, a 
majority of which was of Creath's party, called a council to 
pass iipon, rather than investigate the fourteen charges made 
against Mr. Creath, in Mr. Craig's pamphlet. Mr. Creath was 
acquitted. This only intensified the party spirit. The breach 
widened till it resulted in a division of Elkhorn Association, and 

■■To the Author. 

tThis particular of the proceeding is stated on the authority of Elder 
Thomas P. Dudley. 

312 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

the formation of Licking Association, of the churches that were 
opposed to Mr. Creath. 

Besides Town Fork and Stamping Ground, Mr. Creath was 
pastor of Clear Creek, South Elkhorn and various other churches, 
at different periods. His pastorates were generally short, and 
he seems to have had much more capacity for tearing down, 
than for building up. He was among the first converts to 
Campbellism. He carried South Elkhorn church, of which he 
was then pastor, into the maelstrom of this fanaticism, and his 
name appears no more on Baptist records. 

James Suggett succeeded Jacob Creath as pastor of Stamp- 
ing Ground church. He was a valuable preacher. His tem- 
perament was warm and impulsive, and his gift of exhortation 
was extraordinary. He was a successful preacher within the 
bounds of Elkhorn Association, nearly a quarter of a century. 

He was the son of John Suggett, long a deacon in Great 
Crossing church in Scott county, and was born, probably in 
Virginia, May 2, 1785. He was brought by his parents to 
Scott county, Ky., at least as early as 1785. He professed con- 
version, and was baptized into the fellowship of Great Crossing 
church, probably by Joseph Redding, in May, 1800. On the 
first of October of the same year, the church encouraged him to 
exercise his gift. On the first Saturday in July of the following 
year, he was licensed to preach the gospel. His ordination 
was called for at North Fork church, in 1802, but for some 
cause, he was not ordained till eight years afterwards. He 
may have objected to being ordained, or his brethren may have 
objected, on account of his levity in conversation. Out of the 
pulpit, he would keep a company in a roar of laughter for hours, 
with his anecdotes which he gathered while he was in the war 
of 1 81 3. John Taylor is accredited for having said of him on one 
occasion : " When I see Suggett in the pulpit, I think he ought 
never to come out of it, and when I see him out of it, I think 
he ought never to go into it." 

In 1 8 10, he was ordained pastor of Stamping Ground 
church. There he preached three years with good success, 
serving Great Crossing church, of which he was the third pas- 
tor, during the same period. About 1820, he was again 
called to Stamping Ground, where he labored acceptably five 
years. Meanwhile, he served Old Clear Creek church, Wood- 

James Suggett. 313 

ford county, two years. In 1825, he moved to Missouri, where 
he spent the remainder of his earthly Hfe. 

An incident in the life of James Suggett may be related for 
the benefit of preachers who are inclined to a want of earnest- 
ness in the Christian life : 

On a Summer night he was preaching in an old open house 
on the bank of Elkhorn river. The house was crowded. The 
night was intensely dark, and a terrific thunder storm was 
raging. Mr. Suggett was picturing, with thrilling vividness, the 
awful scene of the final judgment. The minds of the people 
were wrought up to the highest tension, when suddenly a bright 
light gleamed through all the chinks of the old house they were 
worshipping in. The congregation rose with one impulse of 
awful fear, and a loud choral shriek rent the air. There was a 
young woman, a sister of the preacher, in the congregation. 
She sprang to Mr. Suggett, laid hold of him, and cried out, 
"Oh, James, the judgment has come, and I am unprepared. I 
shall go to an awful hell, and you are the cause of it. Why did 
you not tell me of this ?" He replied : " Why, my dear sister, 
have I not preached to you, and warned you to prepare for the 
judgment, a hundred times?" "Oh, yes," said she, "but I 
thought you were joking. I did not know you meant it. If I 
had been in your place, and had seen your condition as you 
must have seen mine, I would have laid hold of you and never 
let you go till I brought you to the feet of Jesus. " The light 
that caused the alarm was presently discovered to be from an 
old barn, near by, which had been set on fire by the lightning. 

Samuel Trott was called to the care of Stamping Ground 
church in 18 17. He was an educated man, and taught school 
while he served this church. He was from some of the New 
England States. When he left Stamping Ground, he went to 
Dry Run church, in Scott county, about the year 18 19. He re- 
mained there about two years. In 1820, he made a motion, in 
Licking Association, that the churches of that body should 
change their distinctive appellation from United Baptists to Par- 
ticular Baptists. His argument in favor of the motion was, 
that they believed in " particular redemption, particular elec- 
tion, and particular calling ; and, therefore, the proposed name 
would better express their belief The motion prevailed, and 
this "Yankee school master" has the honor of naming the 

314 History of Kentucky Baptists, 

only "Particular Baptist" Association on the western con- 
tinent. He was but a moderate preacher. He was clerk of 
Licking Association, in 18 19, and the year following. About 
this time, it is believed, he moved to Maryland, where he was 
living a few years ago. 

Theodrick Boulware was the sixth pastor of Stamping 
Ground church. He was a preacher of decided ability, a man 
of strong practical sense and good reading, and a sound theo- 
logian. He labored with a good degree of success in the Blue- 
grass region of Kentucky, about seventeen years, when he 
moved west. 

Theodrick Boulware was the son of Richard Boulware, of 
Irish extraction. His mother, Esther Ramsey, was of English 
extraction, and was raised an Episcopalian. But both his par- 
ents became Baptists under the ministry of Theodrick Noel, 
after whom their son was named. They raised two daughters 
and four sons. The names of the latter were, Mordecai, 
Richard, Theodrick, and Ramsey. Mordecai and Theodrick 
became preachers. The latter was born in Essex county, Va., 
November 13, 1780. His parents moved to Kentucky, and 
settled at Craig's station, near Gilbert's Creek church, of 
Separate Baptists, in what is now Garrard county, in 1780. At 
about ten years of age, Theodrick was convinced that he was a 
condemned sinner, and needed to be converted, by the pious 
conversation of his parents and their religious friends. Soon 
afterwards he professed religion, and was baptized, probably by 
Joseph Bledsoe, into the fellowship of Gilbert's Creek church. 
About this time, his parents moved to Franklin county, and he, 
with them, united with Forks of Elkhorn, then under the pas- 
toral charge of the famous William Hickman. 

For about ten years after young Boulware's baptism, he 
was much troubled with doubts as to the genuineness of his 
conversion ; but he read much, and diligently improved all op- 
portunities for learning, and was finally established in the faith, 
and greatly comforted. This was during the revival of 1800-3. 
When he became established in the gospel, he laid down the fol- 
lowing principles as the foundation of his theology: 

1. God and his purposes are eternal and unchangeable. 

2. God will do all he purposed, nothing more, nothing less. 

3. God will not be hurried, and cannot be hindered. 

Theodrick Boulware. 315 

4. The salvation of the sinner, and [the] creation of the 
ivorld are equally the work of God, the sinner having no agency 
Vi either. 

His father having been killed by the fall of ahorse, in 1795, 
:he care of the family fell on young Boulware. But such was 
lis energy and thirst for learning, that he found opportunity to 
:each school for a time, then attend a grammar school, kept by 
Elder John Price, and finally to attend a "Religious Polemical 
society," instituted by Elder John Gano. 

April 17, 1808, Mr. Boulware was married to Susan W. 
Kelly, and, on beginning housekeeping, the next year, he laid 
down the following rules, his wife concurring, for their domestic 

1. Read the scriptures and worship God in our family. 

2. Use regular industry, and prudent economy. 

3. Never deal on credit, nor go into debt, except from 
unavoidable necessity. 

4. Make expenses less than our regular profits. 

5. Keep a regular book of both profit and expenses ; and, in 
all our transactions with the world, to act honestly, unde- 
cepitively, not defrauding, nor cheating any one, no, not an ig- 
norant negro. 

Soon after his marriage, he moved his church-membership to 
North Fork, in the same county, of which John Ficklin was 
pastor. He was soon licensed to preach, and, in July, 18 12, 
was ordained to the ministry by William Hickman, James Sug- 
gett, and John Ficklin. Soon after his ordination, he was called 
to the church at Georgetown, where he served as pastor seven 
years. Besides his brief pastorate at Stamping Ground, he 
served the churches at Buck Run, Big Spring, North Elkhorn, 
and Clear Creek, and, for about three years, preached once a 
month to the convicts in the State prison. He was called to 
Cincinnati, and offered a salary of ^900 — quite a large salary at 
that time — but declined, because he did not wish to raise his 
children in a city. 

In 1827, when he was among the ablest and most popular 
preachers in Kentucky, he resigned all his charges, and moved 
to Missouri, settling in Calloway county. Here he labored in 
harmony with Longan, Suggett, Vardeman and others, till about 
1843, when a separation took place among the Baptists of that 

3i6 History of Kentucky Baptists, ^ 

region, on the subject of missionary operations. Mr. Boul- 
ware identified, himself with the Anti-missionary faction. He 
lived to an advanced age, and died a few years past, while on a 
visit to relations in Kentucky. 

Silas Mercer Noel was the son of Theodrick Noel, a dis- 
tinguished Baptist preacher in the Old Dominion, in the early 
days of Baptist operations in that State, and was born in Hen- 
rico county, Va., August 13, 1783. His father gave him a good 
English education, after which he educated himself in the classi- 
cal languages, and then studied law. He emigrated to Kentucky 
and established himself in the practice of his profession, at 
Frankfort. He professed conversion, probably as early as 18 10, 
and was baptized by William Hickman, pastor of Forks of Elk- 
horn church. Soon after his union with the church, he 
was licensed "to exercise a preaching gift," and, about 1813, 
was ordained to the pastoral care of Big Spring church, in 
Woodford county, which was constituted that year. He con- 
tinued pastor of this church one year. 

Mr. Noel was a man of fine culture, of broad views, of 
active enterprise, and enlarged public spirit. As soon as he en- 
tered the work of the ministry, his active mind began to inquire 
into the wants of the Baptists of the State. In 181 3, he com- 
menced the publication of a religious monthly magazine, called the 
Gospel Herald^ In the first number of this periodical, he advo- 
cated the establishment of a "General Committee, " among the 
Baptists of Kentucky, in which the whole Baptist denomination 
in the State, might be represented, and thereby secure unity 
and harmony of action in promoting schemes of benevolence, 
especially home and foreign missions. Without entering into 
particulars here, it is sufficient to say, in this place, that the pro- 
posed "General Committee" was intended to answer similar 
ends to those now promoted by the General Association of Ken- 
tucky Baptists. The measure would have been a wise one, if 
the Baptists of Kentucky, had been prepared to adopt it and carry 
out its purposes; but they were not, and the movement had to be 

* This was not, as Dr. Ford supposes, the first rehgious periodical pub- 
lished in Kentucky. I have before me a complete volume of the Kentucky 
Missionary, and Theological Magazine, a quarterly edited by Stark Dupuy, 
and published at Frankfort, Ky. The first number was issued, May, 1812. 


Silas Mercc? Noel. 317 

postponed about nineteen years. Mr. Noel, however, lived to see 
his measure carried into successful operation in the General As- 

In 18 12, Mr. Noel and Jeremiah Vardeman proposed to 
publish "a comprehensive History of the Baptist Society."* How- 
far this work progressed is not known. 

About 1 8 16, Mr. Noel was appointed by Gov. Slaughter, 
Judge of the Circuit Court. In filling this office, he abandoned 
the work of the ministry, for a time. John Taylor speaks of him 
at this period as follows: "Mr. Noel sometime after this relin- 
quished the pastoral charge at Big Spring, though he preached 
for them sometime after this. He at length took a letter of 
dismission, and joined the church at Frankfort, after which 
being appointed circuit judge, for a season he desisted from 
preaching, and resumed the practice of law to which he had 
t)een bred. He forebore the sacred office of gospel minister, 
about two years, being very unhappy in this lapsed state. About 
one year past, he came forward again as a preacher, with more 
zeal, consistency and apparent stability than at any time of his 
life, before, and is now one of our first-rate Baptist preachers in 
Kentucky, and has lately taken the pastoral care of the Baptist 
church in Frankfort, "f Speaking of him at a later period the 
same author says : "Silas M. Noel . . . is now a great-trav- 
eler and one of the most successful preachers the Baptists have 

in Kentucky For three years past I suppose 

he has baptized more people than any other man in Kentucky. 
His labors seem blessed in whatever direction he takes. The 
conversion of sinners to the Lord seems to be the greatest object 
of his address to men. Repentance and faith, or faith and re- 
pentance, connected with a godly life, is the main drift of his dis- 
courses, with profuse invitations to everyone to come to the Sup- 
per. Speculative trifles are barely found in his exhibitions. 

"The high powers of Lexington, authorized to make doctors 
of Divinity, a year or two back saluted him with a flowing di- 
ploma. But it is pleasing to see that these high flying trifles do 
not prevent his going into thickets; or, according to his own 
term, while at his work, the highways and Jiedges, to invite the 

*Min. of South Dis. Asso. of 1812. tHis. Ten. Ch's p. 186. 

3 1 8 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

poor, the halt, the bhnd and lame, with every other soul to seek 
the salvation of God.*" 

In 1827, Mr. Noel accepted a call to Stamping Ground, 
where he labored but a short time. The next year he took charge 
of Great Crossing church. Here his success was remarkable. 
Within one year he baptized into its fellowship 359 persons. 
Among them were seventeen Indians from Choctaw Academy 
at Blue Springs. At least one of these Indians, Sampson Birch,, 
was afterward ordained to the ministry. 

During the two or three years that followed this large in- 
gathering at Great Crossing, the Campbellite excitement was at 
fever heat. The discussion partook largely of the popular feel- 
ing, but also brought into the arena of newspaper warfare, the 
ablest men on both sides of the question. Among them Silas 
M. Noel stood in the front rank on the Baptist side, and while 
he was not the equal of William Vaughan in the pulpit, he was 
decidedly his superior with the pen, and, with this he entered 
largely into the discussions, through the press, while Vaughan 
was in the lead on the rostrum. Out of a membership of 558, 
Great Crossing lost only sixteen by the Campbellite schism. 

Mr. Noel probably served some other country churches, at 
different periods. In 1836, he accepted a call to the church in 
Lexington. Here he served acceptably about three years, 
when he was called up higher. May 5, 1839. 

In his early hfe, Mr. Noel was somewhat perplexed on the 
subject of church government, and probably inclined to the Pres- 
byterian, but after a few years, became fully settled in that of 
the Baptists. He, however, felt the need of some general or- 
ganization, through which the denomination, at least, over the 
extent of the State, could act in harmony. Hence his proposal 
for a general committee, in 18 13. He established, in that year, 
the Gospel Herald, a denominational monthly Magazine, by 
means of which the Baptists of the State could have inter- 
communion of sentiments. But this was soon discontinued 
for want of patronage. He was very active in originating 
Georgetown College, especially for the educating of young 
preachers. He was a member and President of its Board of 
Trustees, was instrumental in securing the Paulding fund, and 

His. Ten. Ch's, pp. 187, 188. 

James D. Black. 319 

subscribed ^500 to the college endowment. He was a leading- 
spirit in organizing the Kentucky Baptist State Convention, in 
1832, of which he was Moderator during its existence. The 
Baptists of Kentucky owe much, under God, to this good and 
great man. 

James D. Black was the most successful pastor Stamping 
Ground has ever had. He was called to that position, in Jan- 
uary, 1838, and resigned it in March, 1867, in these words: 
"I hereby resign the charge of your church, which I have had 
for thirty years. Brethren, be careful, and do not fall out by 
the way." He was among the most zealous, energetic, faith- 
ful, and successful preachers, that ever labored among the 
Baptists of Kentucky. 

James D. Black was born in Virginia, June 24, 1794. He 
came with his parents to Kentucky, in 1807. His early edu- 
cation was very limited. He was converted to God, at the age 
of about fifteen years, and was baptized into the fellowship of 
Dry Run church in Scott county, by Joseph Redding. He 
was raised up to the ministry, in Long Lick church in Scott 
county. He was pastor, at different times, of some sixteen 
churches in Kentucky, besides preaching to several in Missouri, 
while residing in that State. He was a student and a laborer. 
He went to school, and was in a grammar class with his son, 
E. H. Black, when he was past forty years of age, and, by the 
aid of a Greek grammar, learned to read the New Testament 
in Greek, after he was fifty. 

He was laboring in a series of revivals, during a great por- 
tion of his ministry. He served one year as a missionary of 
Elkhorn Association. At the close of the year, he made the 
following report : "During the year, your agent has attended 
twenty protracted meetings, 323 have been received for bap- 
tism, at those meetings. He has baptized 261, himself, chiefly 
at the churches of his charge. He has preached 351 dis- 
courses, and has been engaged 121 days in actual service to 
this Association." He baptized about 500 in one year. Dur- 
ing his pastorate at Stamping Ground, he baptized over 1,000 
1 into the fellowship of that church. He kept no account of the 
number he baptized during his ministry, but said, during his 
last illness, he could not think he had immersed less than 

320 History of Ketitucky Baptists, 

He quitted the scenes of his labors, May 30, 1871. His 
last words were, "Jesus ! Oh my son, how precious." His re- 
mains lie beneath where stood the old pulpit which he oc- 
cupied so long and successfully at Stamping Ground. That he 
was a good man, many living witnesses testify ; that he was a 
great man, his works bear record. 

Forks of Licking church is located in Falmouth, the county 
seat of Pendleton, and is now called by the name of that village. It 
was probably gathered by Alexander Monroe, and was formed, 
in part, of persons who had been dismissed from Bryants church 
in Fayette county. The constitution was effected on the 4th 
Saturday in June, 1795. The church united with Elkhorn Asso- 
ciation, in August of the same year, at which time it reported 
eighteen members. In 1802, it numbered fifty-four members, 
and, the next year, entered into the constitution of North Bend 
Association. This was just at the close of the great revival. 
From this period the church declined, till lo 12, when it numbered 
only twelve members. In 18 17, it took a letter of dismission, and 
joined Union Association, of which it still remains a member. It 
appears to have been under the pastoral care of Alexander 
Monroe, from the time of its constitution, till about 1825, when 
he was succeeded by Blackstone L. Abernathy. Under the 
ministry of the latter, it had an increase of sixty-one members, 
in 1827. But, in 1830, Mr. Abernathy went off with the Camp- 
bellites, and, of course, carried a large proportion of the mem- 
bers with him. In 1831, William Vaughan took charge of the 
remnant of the church, and ministered to it one year. Since 
that period it has had a large number of pastors, among whom 
may be named Robert Elrod, Thomas Waggoner (who was 
raised up to the ministry among its members), James Spillman, 
Gilbert Mason, Fergus German, J. R. Barbee, A. W. Mullins, 
George Varden, N. C. Pettit, and Robert E. Kirtley. In 1872, 
the church took the name of Falmouth, and, in 1880, numbered 
163 members. The widely known P. S. G. Watson was licensed 
to preach by this church. 

Alexander Monroe is supposed to have been pastor of 
Forks of Licking church, about 30 years. He emigrated, 
probably from Virginia, to Kentucky, as early as 1789, at which 
date he united, by letter, with Bryants church in Fayette 
county. The following year he was encouraged to exercise his 

Otter Creek Church. 321 

gift, and, in August, 1791, was licensed to preach. On the 17th 
of August, 1793, he was ordained to the full work of the gospel 
ministry, by Ambrose Dudley, John Price, and William 
Edmund Waller. Tn 1795, he moved to the Forks of Licking 
river, and^went into the constitution of Forks of Licking church. 
To what other congregations he ministered, does not appear. 
But he was one of the most prominent ministers in North Bend 
Association, during its early history, having served that body as 
moderator six years, and preached the introductory sermon be 
fore it on several occasions. 

Otter Creek church first appears on the minutes of Tates 
Creek Association, in 1795, and was probably constituted dur- 
ing that year. It was located on a small stream from which it 
derived its name, in Madison county. In 1796, it numbered 80 
members, and, for a number of years, was a prominent church 
in Tates Creek Association. In 1829, it reached a membership 
of 124; but it was so reduced by the Campbellite schism, the 
following year, that it was shortly afterwards dissolved. 

Of the five churches gathered in Kentucky, in 1795, Otter 
Creek and Blue Ash were destroyed by the Campbellite schism, 
while Cartwright's Creek, McConnel's Run, and Forks of Lick- 
ing, still exist under the names of Lebanon, Stamping Ground 
and Falmouth. 




At the beginning of the year 1796, the gloom was still 
deepening over religious circles in the Ohio Valley. Religion 
was now at a lower ebb in Kentucky than at the darkest period 
of the Indian wars. During the preceding year, only eighteen 
persons had been baptized within the bounds of Elkhorn Asso- 
ciation, in which was embraced more than half the Baptists in 
Kentucky. Elkhorn Association made an effort this year, to re- 
establish union and correspondence with Tates Creek Associa- 
tion, which was carried into successful and permanent operation 
the following year. Tates Creek Association appointed two 
preachers to visit the destitute brethren on [upper] Green river, 
with their ministerial labors," and, in their circular, lament that 
"Zion is still in a mournful state." South Kentucky Associa- 
sion spitefully rejected an application for union and correspond- 
ence with Tates Creek Association. Salem Association was in 
a troublesome state of fomentation over the slavery question, on 
account of which she lost two churches this year. 

The little new association, Tates Creek, engaged in the only 
work which exhibited any especial religious interest in the State, 
— that of sending missionaries to look after the destitute breth- 
ren in the new settlements, and gather them into churches, where 
it was expedient. 

The Kentucky Legislature had passed an act in 1795, by 
which a preemption right to two hundred acres of land was se- 
cured to each actual settler in the Green river country. This in- 
duced a large influx of immigrants from the south-east to settle 
in that region. Most of the early settlers along the southern 
border of the State were from the Carolinas. A settlement by 
people from these States was made on the waters of Drakes 


Union Church. 323 

creek, in what are now Allen and Warren counties, as early as 
1795. Among these were a number of Baptists, and two or three 
Baptist preachers. Here the first church in that part of Ken- 
tucky lying south of Green river, was formed. 

Union church was located near the West Fork of Drakes 
creek, in Warren county. The preachers known to have settled 
early in that region were John Hightower, Alexander Devin 
and Joseph Logan. Some or all of these were probably the 
instruments in gathering this church. It was constituted some- 
time during the year 1796. Of what association it became a 
member, it does not appear. Mero District in the northern 
border of Tennessee and southern border of Kentucky, was most 
convenient to it. That Association was constituted in 1796. 
On account of internal discords, it was dissolved in 1803, and a 
new association, called Cumberland, was formed of the same 
churches, except four, which adhered to Elder Joseph Dorris, 
who Avas the cause of all the confusion. In 1806, Cumberland 
Association was, for the sake of convenience, divided into two 
fraternities. The one lying to the northward, and having about 
half of its churches in Kentucky, took the name of Red River 

When Gasper River Association was formed in 1812, 
Union church entered into its constitution. It remained in this 
body till 1820, when it entered into the constitution of Drakes 
Creek Association. In 1823, it numbered eighty-six members. 
When there was a division of the Baptists in Kentucky, on the 
subject of missions, Union church adhered to that part of the 
Association which held to anti-mission sentiments. After this 
it gradually diminished in number, till about the year 1855, when 
it dissolved. 

John Hightower was the first pastor of Union church. 
He was an able and successful preacher, and a man of tireless 
zeal in the cause of his Master. He and Alexander Devin and 
Joseph Logan were instrumental in raising up most of the early 
churches in that region. 

Mr. Hightower was a native of South Carolina, and spent 
the early years of his ministry in preaching among the Baptists 
of that State. In the year 1795, he and a number of others 
formed a settlement on the Middle Fork of Drakes creek, 
in what is now Allen county. Here he spent the remainder of 

324 History of Kentucky Baptists, 

his days. As stated above, he and his fellow laborers gathered 
Union church in 1796. In 1798, he gathered Sulphur Spring 
church in Allen county, of which he became pastor. During 
the Great Revival, which began two years after this, his great 
zeal so carried him away that his feet were severely frost bit- 
ten. From this circumstance he was unable to walk for about 
a year. But as soon as he was able to sit in a chair, he made 
appointments for preaching at his house, and continued preach- 
ing with much fervor, sitting in his chair, till he was able to 
walk again. He was badly crippled in his feet the remainder of 
his life, but continued to preach with zeal and faithfulness, till 
the Lord took him to himself, about the year 1823. 

Mr. Hightower was regarded a strong doctrinal preacher for 
his day. He held some loose notions about keeping the Sab- 
bath that did much harm. He did not wholly discard the obli- 
gation to keep the day holy, but he held it very lightly, and 
broke the Sabbath himself for very trivial causes. The effect of 
his teaching was such, that many, otherwise pious and devout 
Christians, had no conscientious scruples about fishing, hunting 
or attending to any pressing business, on Sunday. It appears 
that most of the Baptists from South Carolina, at that period, 
held similar views to those of Mr. Hightower. The effects on 
the people were very pernicious, and even to the present day, 
the results of this false teaching are manifest in some portions 
of Southern Kentucky. 

Alexander Devin was a co-laborer of Mr. Hightower in 
building up the first churches in Allen and Warren counties. 
He was also a strong doctrinal preacher, a man of fine talents, 
and exerted a strong influence on society. 

Mr. Devin was raised in South Carolina, where he spent 
some years in preaching the gospel. He came to Kentucky, 
and was one of the first settlers on the present territory of Allen 
county. He labored with much usefulness, in Kentucky, some 
ten years, and then moved to the Wabash country in Indiana 
about 1805. Here, again he was a pioneer. He collected the 
first churches of which Wabash Association was constituted. 
This body was formed of five churches, in 1809. Alexander 
Devin and the distinguished missionary to the Indians, Isaac Mc- 
Coy, then a young man, were the only ministers in this frater- 
nity, when it was formed. Mr. Devin was the moderator of the 

Joseph Logan. 325 

body, for some years. The following to one of his old co-la- 
borers in Allen county, Kentucky, can hardly fail to interest the 

"Dear Sir : 

"These lines are to inform you that my family are in com- 
mon health, through the kind favor of God. I wish these lines 

to find you and yours in health also We have 

troublesome times with the Indians. There have been about 
fifteen white people killed by them within a few months. A 
great many families have fled, and are fleeing to Kentucky for 
safety. I have some thought of carrying my family away, if 
times should continue so dangerous. 

"There has been a considerable revival of religion in this 
territory. Numbers, I trust, God has saved by the mighty' 
power and influence of His grace. 

" May the God of all grace protect and keep you and me, 
with all saints, until we meet to part no more. Wife joins me 
in love to you, etc., etc. Alexander Devin. " 

* ' To Joseph Logan." 

Mr. Devin was a member of the convention that formed 
the first State Constitution for Indiana, in 18 16. He was, at that 
time, of an advanced age, and, of course, has long since gone to 
his reward. 

Joseph Logan was another of the trio of " master builders," 
who laid the foundation for other men to build on, among the 
cane-brakes of Southern Kentucky. He was intimately as- 
sociated with Hightower and Devin, with either of whom he 
could fitly labor. They were strong doctrinal preachers, and he 
was a warm, impressive exhorter. 

Joseph Logan was a native of Virginia. In young man- 
hood, he moved to North Carolina, and married Annie Bias. 
Here also he obtained hope in Christ, and was baptized. Not 
long after he united with the church, he moved to South Caro- 
lina, where he was put into the ministry, and was, for some 
years, pastor of a church on Pedee river. The exact time of 
his coming to Kentucky is not known, but he aided ingathering 
Bethlehem, the second church formed in Allen county. This 
large old church, located two miles north of Scottsville, the 
county seat of Allen, was constituted by John Hightower, Alex- 
ander Devin, and Joseph Logan, January 31, 1801, and Mr. 

326 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Logan was immediately chosen its pastor. The church was 
constituted of eight members — four males and as many females. 
It increased to ']6 members the first year, and has continued to 
be a strong, influential church to the present time. 

Mr. Logan assisted in gathering several other churches in 
Allen county, among which were Trammels Fork and Middle 
Fork. Few men of his day exercised a more powerful influence 
over a congregation than did he. The "jerks" and "falling 
exercise," were common under his preaching. " I remember," 
said an aged citizen, " to have been present at a meeting on De- 
feated Branch. Hightower preached a long sermon, Logan fol- 
lowed him with an exhortation of twenty minutes, during which 
about twenty persons fell as dead men." 

When the faithful old servant of the Cross became too feeble 
to stand, he would sit on a chair, or table, and preach Christ to 
the people, with much love and tenderness. He died of a can- 
cer on his breast, in October, 1812. Of his descendants, younger 
Logan is an acceptable preacher among the Antimissionary 
Baptists in Warren county. 

Zachariah Morris was raised up to the ministry, either 
in Union or Sulphur Spring, as there was no other church in 
that region of country, at the time he was brought into the 
ministry. He was born in a new settlement on Big Sandy river, 
in Virginia, January i, 1773. He moved to Warren county, 
Kentucky, while a lad. When he grew up, he was married to 
Sarah, daughter of Dennis Durham, a Presbyterian preacher, in 
1796. He was a gay, pleasure-loving young man, was regarded 
an excellent "fiddler," and was fond of dancing and other 
frivolous amusements. But about the time of the great revival, 
at the beginning of the century, the spirit of the Lord stopped 
him in his mad career, and brought him to the feet of Jesus. 
Here he found peace and great joy. He was baptized by John 
Hightower, and soon began to proclaim publicly what the Lord 
had done for him, and exhort sinners to repent and come to the 
Savior. He was soon set apart to the ministry. In his early 
ministry, he was very zealous in warning and exhorting sinners 
to repent, and the Lord crowned his labors with abundant suc- 
cess. In 1808, Middle Fork church was raised up in Allen 
county. He was in its constitution, and, in 181 1, became its 
pastor. He served in this capacity twenty-two years. In 1843, 

Zachariah Morris. 327 

:he church spUt on the subject of missions. Mr. Morris procured 
I letter, and joined Lick Fork, an Anti-missionary church, in 
:he same county. Of this church he became the pastor. He 
A^as also pastor of several other churches in the same region, at 
iifferent periods. He had, in his earlier ministry, traveled and 
areached with much success. But after he became an Anti- 
Tiissionary, and adopted what was popularly known as Anti- 
lomianism, his usefulness was measurably destroyed. His new 
;heory was at variance, both with his feelings, and his best gifts, 
ind, sometimes, when he Avarmed in his preaching, he would 
disregard it, and exhort the unconverted to repent and believe 
the gospel. He accounted for this inconsistency by saying : 
" It is true that I wear an iron jacket, but when I get warmed 
jp the buttons melt off. " He continued to preach to a good 
Did age. The last time he preached, he said in his discourse ; 
"This is the last time I shall ever preach." He rode home, and 
'ell from his horse at the stile. He was carried to his bed, and 
;oon became speechless. He died June 20, 1849. 

Mr. Morris' preaching gift was very moderate, but he was 
I fair exhorter, and his social powers were excellent. He was 
simple and affectionate in his manners, and he kept his garments 
unspotted from the world. His third marriage was an incon- 
jenial one, and this marred his peace in his old age. 

Richard Owings was pastor of Union church some years. 
He was born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, about 1787, whence 
tie came with his parents to Simpson county, in his childhood, 
[n early life, he united with New Salem church in Simpson 
:ounty. Here he was raised up to the ministry, and became 
pastor of the church of which he was a member, and of Union 
:hurch, about the same time. He filled these positions several 
years, with acceptance to the churches, when he moved to Mis- 
souri. There he continued to labor until 1858, 'when, coming 
on a visit to his friends, he died, in his native state. 

Mr. Owings was a very moderate preacher, but was re- 
garded as a man of sincere piety. In early life, he married 
Minnie, daughter of Jonathan Holcomb of Simpson county. He 
raised eight sons and four daughters. Of the former, Benjamin 
and Jonathan became Baptist preachers in Audrain county, 

Stone Lick church is located in Mason county. It was 


323 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

gathered by William Wood, the first preacher that settled in 
the northern part of the state, by whom also it was constituted, 
March i, 1796. It united with Elkhorn Associatiou the same 
year. It reported 20 members. The following year 42 were 
baptized into its fellowship, increasing its membership to 70. In 
1799, it united in the constitution of Bracken Association. 
With this body it remained a number of years, and then united 
with Licking Association of Particular Baptists. In 1838, it 
reported to that body 19 members. Like most, if not all, the 
churches in that fraternity, it continued to dwindle away, till, in 
1876, it reported only 9 members. 

Of its early pastors, except William Wood, a sketch of 
whose life has been given, no information is at hand. 

Beech Creek church is located in the southeastern part 
of Shelby county. There is a tradition, which seems reliable, 
that this church was gathered by the famous Lewis Craig, by 
whom, with others, it was constituted, in 1796, of the follow- 
ing persons : Samuel Ayers, Samuel Tinsley, Warren and Su- 
sannah Cash, and one other. The following year, it united* 
with Salem Association, of which it remained a member till 
Long Run was formed, in 1803, when it entered into the con- 
stitution of that fraternity. John Penny was the first pastor ; 
but finding a preaching gift among themselves, in the person of 
Warren Cash, they soon called him into the ministry, and, in 
1799, he was ordained their pastor. A revival soon commenced 
under his ministry, and a large number was baptized. In 1803, 
the church numbered 151 members, and was the largest in 
Long Run Association. In 18 17, it took a letter from Long 
Run, and united in the constitution of Franklin Association. 
At this period it numbered about 130 members. It continued 
prosperous, in Franklin Association, till 1834, when it reported 
40 baptisms and a total membership of 138. In 1836 it went 
into the constitution of Middle District Association, where it 
remained some years, and then joined Mt. Pleasant Associa- 
tion of Anti-missionary Baptists, and, of course, has since been 
withering away. At present, it numbers about 45 members. 

Warren Cash was the second pastor of Beech Creek 

■•■•In Clack's History of Salem Association it is improperly printed 
Buck Creek. 

Warren Cash. 329 

church, and, so far as is now known, was, with his wife, the 
first fruits to God of the wilderness of Kentucky. There is a 
tradition that seven persons were baptized by Benjamin Lynn, 
in NoHn river, in what is now LaRue county, in 1782. But 
of this, there is no sufficient evidence. On the contrary, after 
much painstaking investigation, the tradition seems highly 
improbable. Mr. Cash and his wife were converted to God, 
on Clear creek, in Woodford county, in the latter part of 
the winter, or early spring, of 1785, Mrs. Cash being con. 
verted first. They were baptized by John Taylor, and be- 
came members of Clear Creek church, some weeks after their 

Warren Cash was born in Virginia, April 4, 1760. He 
grew up wholly illiterate. When the war broke out between 
England and her American colonies, young Cash entered the 
Colonial army, and served as a private soldier, four years. 
At the restoration of peace, he returned home, and, in No- 
vember, 1783, was married to Susannah, daughter of William 
Baskett, a respectable Baptist preacher of Fluvana county, Va. 
In the fall of 1784, he moved to Kentucky. He stopped dur- 
ing the winter in Grubb's Fort, in Madison county, but as soon 
as the weather was sufficiently open, toward spring, he moved to 
Woodford county, and settled on the present site of Mortons- 
ville. Soon after his removal to this place, he and his wife were 
brought into Clear Creek church, as related above. At the 
time he was converted, he was twenty-five years old, and was 
so illiterate that he did not even know the alphabet. However, 
he had a strong mind, possessed true courage, and was exceed- 
ingly anxious to read the word of God. His wife was a fair 
scholar and a very superior woman. She at once became his 
teacher, and found him a good pupil. In a short time he was 
able to read the Bible, and ultimately became very familiar with 
its sacred pages. " A few years after [his baptism]," says 
John Taylor, ' ' he moved to a new settlement, in Shelby coun- 
ty. There he began to hold meetings, and Beech Creek church 
was soon raised up." After exercising in public, several years, 
he was ordained to the ministry, by William Hickman and 
John Penny, in 1799, and immediately took charge of Beech 
Creek church. Early in the year 1801, a revival commenced 
in the church, and not less than 70 were baptized. 

330 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

In the spring of 1802, Mr. Cash moved to Nelson county, 
and united with Simpsons Creek church. "Here he became 
a great traveHng preacher." He visited the settlements south 
and west, from where he lived, till March 1806, when he moved 
to Hardin county. Here Bethel church was raised up, and he 
became its pastor. He baptized four of his children, with many 
others, at one time, while he was pastor of Bethel. This 
church became so large, that it was thought expedient to di- 
vide its membership. Accordingly, on the 17th of March, 1824, 
Gilead church in the same county, was constituted. Mr. Cash 
was in the constitution, and became pastor of the new church. 
He continued to swerve this church, till 1840, when it split on 
the subject of missions. Mr. Cash adhered to the anti-mis- 
sionary party, and continued to serve it as pastor, till his 
death, which occurred September 15, 1850. 

Mr. Cash was a plain, sound, practical preacher, of me- 
dium ability. Besides the churches already named, he wasj 
pastor of Union in Hardin, and Otter Creek, in Mead county. 
In the former, Benjamin and Enos Keith, and in the latter, 
John Rush, were raised up to the ministry, under Mr. Cash's 
pastoral care. Of his sons, Jeremiah Cash became a respect- 
able preacher among the Anti-missionary Baptists, in Gibson 
county, Indiana. He died while on a visit to LaRue county, 
Ky., in the Spring of 1850. 

Moses Scott was many years pastor of Beech Creek church. 
He was probably the immediate successor of Warren Cash. 
He was a preacher of small talent. He finally fell into dis- 
repute and was deposed from the ministry. 

John Holland was the most distinguished of Beech Creek 
church's pastors, except John Penny. His father, Joel, and 
his mother were pious Baptists. They were natives of Virginia, 
and early settlers in Shelby county, Ky. 

John Holland was born in Shelby county, Ky., about 1797, 
and received a fair English education. He united with Salem 
church, at an early age, and was probably baptized by John 
Rice.' About 18 14, he accompanied He'nson Hobbs on a mis- 
sionary tour to Missouri Territory, whither he was sent byj 
Long Run Association. On his return, young Holland was li- 
censed to preach, about 1815, and, three years afterwards, wasj 
ordained to the work of the ministry. He was called to the! 

Good Hope CJnirch. 331 

care of Salem church, to which he ministered until his death. 
He was also pastor of Beech Creek, Bethel, Little Mount, and 
Kings churches. He published, in pamphlet form, a sermon 
on a "Call to the Ministry," which exhibits decided ability. 
He was a man of delicate constitution, and died of disease of the 
lungs, a little past middle life — perhaps, in 1844. 

Good Hope church was at first located on a tributary of 
Pittmans creek, called Muldraugh's Mill Creek, in what is now 
Taylor county. In May, 1796, Tates Creek Association sent 
Peter Woods and Isaac Newland "to visit the destitute brethren 
on Green river with their ministerial labor." The object, no 
doubt, was to constitute these brethren a church, "if they were 
ripe for constitution." During this year, according to a history 
of the church, published in the minutes of Lynn Association, in 
1876, Good Hope church was constituted of some ten or twelve 
members. "It was constituted a United Baptist church, and has 
remained such to the present time." This is incontestible evi- 
dence that it was constituted by ministers connected with Tates 
Creek Association, since that was at that time, and for several 
years afterwards, the only association of United Baptists west of 
the Cumberland mountains. Two years after this, a new church, 
represented by Edward Turner, and described as "the church 
on Pitman," was received into Tates Creek Association. All 
the known circumstances indicate that this was the church now 
called Good Hope. It was probably gathered by that active 
pioneer, who first represented it in the Association. After Mr. 
Turner, David Elkin was pastor of this church, and he was 
succeeded, in 181 1, by John Chandler. At this date, it num- 
bered twenty-nine members. The growth of the church was 
so slow, that as late as 1834 Horatio Chandler, its pastor, wrote 
of it: "She has been struggling for existence for a number of 
years." It, however, exhibited the elements of progress, in 
that it had a Sunday-school — a thing too rare among the Baptists 
of that period — and approved the Baptist State Convention, with 
desire that the constitution of the convention should be 
.mended. Since that period, it has enjoyed much prosperity, 
.nd was, in 1879, the largest church in Lynn Association. At 
:hat date, it embraced two hundred and fifty members. This 
hurch most probably entered into the constitution of Green 
iver Association, in 1800, under its original title of the church 

332 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

on Pittman.* At least it was a member of that body, in i802. 
In the division of Green river, in 1804, it fell in Russells Creek 
Associacion. It entered into the constitution of Lynn Associa- 
tion, in 1856. 

Edward Turner was certainly a member of the church on 
Pittman [now Good Hope] as early as 1798, and was probably 
in the constitution of that body. He was quite an active preach- 
er among- the pioneers in the Green river country. His father, 
John Turner was among the early settlers of Madison county, 
Ky., and his brother John, was at one time captured by Indians, 
but escaped from them, after a brief captivity. 

Edward Turner was born in North Carolina about the year, 
1768. He came with his parents to Kentucky, in his childhood. 
He was probably raised up to the ministry at Good Hope. 
About 181 1, he moved to Warren county, and united with Provi- 
dence church. He served this church as pastor, about five years 
from the time he united with it, and then moved to Howard 
county, Missouri. He finally moved to Platte county, in that 
State, where he died about 1843. His son, Thomas Turner, 
became a Baptist preacher in Missouri, and is said to have been 
an active, useful minister. He only lived about twelve years after 
he commenced preaching. 

David Thurman was raised up to the ministry, and began, 
to preach in Good Hope church. Among the Baptist preachers, 
raised up in Kentucky during the early part of the present cen- 
tury, this eminent servant of Christ had few superiors either in 
ability or usefulness. 

His parents were both Baptists in Virginia, where they were 
born and raised. The father, Richard Thurman, moved to Ken- 
tucky about the close of the Revolutionary War, and settled 
in Woodford county. He afterward moved to Washington coun- 
ty, where he died in 1802. 

David Thurman was born in Woodford county, Kentucky, 
August 12, 1792. At the age often years, he was left an orphan 
and went to live with an elder brother, who put him to keeping 
bar in a tavern. Presently, seeing the degradation to which 
men were reduced by intoxication, he resolved never to drink 

*Pittmans Creek church, now known as the Campbellsville church, ac- 
cording to Horatio Chandler, was not constituted till May 21, 1803. The au- 
thor has been unable to clear up the matter, satisfactorily. 

David Thiirman. 333 

splritous liquors. To this resolution he adhered through every 
temptation. But as to every other popular vice, he gave full 
scope to his inclination. He was said to be a shrewd and suc- 
cessful gambler at the age of seventeen. Meanwhile, he had 
acquired the elements of a fair English education. He was a 
youth of great energy, and was fond of books. He pursued his 
studies with the same enthusiasm that characterized him when 
horse racing and playing cards. 

But his wild career was suddenly cut short, in his nine- 
teenth year, by the preventing grace of God. He was over- 
whelmingly convicted of sin, and after abrief but agonizing struggle 
he found great peace and joy, in trusting in Jesus. He was bap- 
tized by David Elkin into the fellowship of Good Hope church. 
Soon after his baptism, he began to exhort his former compan- 
ions in sin to repent and believe the gospel. Meanwhile, he 
studied theology under Nathan Hall, a distinguished Presbyte- 
rian preacher. In 18 14 he was ordained to the ministry, prob- 
ably by David Elkin and John Chandler. The same year he 
was ordained, he was married to Jemima B., daughter of Rob- 
ert Scott, of Washington county. This noble woman was to him 
a helpmeet, indeed. "After they had gotten a little start in the 
world," said one of her sons, "she managed the temporal affairs 
of the family with such skill and industry that father was en- 
abled to give his whole time to study and preaching. For many 
years, I never knew my mother to go to bed before midnight, 
except on Sunday night, unless she was too sick to attend to bus- 
iness. On Saturday night she would have some of the children 
watch the clock that she might not be at work after midnight, 
and thereby break the Sabbath." 

Mr. Thurman was a close student, and became an able the- 
ologian. Soon after his ordination, he was called to the care of 
Stewards Creek and Hardins Creek churches in Washington 
county. At Hardins Creek, several valuable ministers were 
raised up under his labors, the most noted of whom was Smith 

In the spring of 18 18, he moved to what is now LaRue 
county, and gave his membership to Nolin church, of which 
the venerable Alexander McDugal was pastor. Of this church 
Mr. Thurman at once became the virtual pastor, and, on the 
death of the aged incumbent, was formally called to that posi- 

334 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

tion. He also accepted the care of Mill Creek in Nelson county 
and Rhudes Creek, in Hardin county. He probably supplied 
some other church. 

His removal to the territory of Salem Association marked 
a new era in the history of that ancient fraternity. Unlike most 
of the Baptist preachers of his time, he gave himself wholly to 
the ministry of the Word. He did not limit his ministry to the 
stated meetings of his pastoral charges, but labored to cultivate 
every part of the territory of these churches ; preaching in 
school houses, private residences, and in the woods, v/herever 
he could make opportunity. Such labors were soon followed 
by a glorious revival at Nolin. The influence spread to the 
neighboring churches, and several hundreds of people were 
baptized. During the sixteen years that he labored within the 
bounds of Salem Association, many precious revivals occurred 
in that region. 

In 1828, after a season of coldness in the churches, which 
had continued many months, this earnest man of God became 
greatly afflicted on account of the spiritual dirth that pervaded 
the churches of Salem Association. He did not, however, 
diminish his labors, but strove to increase them. He was labor- 
ing from house to house, night and day, when the Divine 
presence began to be manifest among the people on Barren Run, 
a branch of Nolin river, and within the bounds of Nolin church. 
A few persons were converted and baptized. The revival spread 
rapidly, and soon a large number were baptized at Nolin 
church. Among these were John Duncan, who was for many 
years a valuable preacher, and Robert L. Thurman, who has 
been a most energetic and efficient agent for Missions, in Ken- 
tucky, more than thirty years. From Nolin, the revival spread 
to South Fork of Nolin, Severns Valley, and Three Forks of 
Bacon Creek. About 300 persons were baptized into the fel- 
lowship of these churches. During this revival, Mr. Thurman 
was assisted by William M. Brown, then an active young 

Mr. Graves, in his biography of A. W. LaRue, relates the 
following anecdote : At Nolin church, on one Saturday, Mr. 
Thurman appeared very despondent. There had been a long 
dearth, and the pastor's heart was discouraged. He told the 
church that his labors had not been blessed ; it probably was 

David TJmrniaii. 335 

not the will of the Lord that he should labor among them, and 
advised them to procure another pastor. He sat down, and a 
profound and painful silence ensued. Among the members 
present was the aged widow of John LaRue, alter whomLaRue 
county was named. She was one of those noble Priscillas with 
whom God occasionally blesses his churches. She had sat in a 
leaning attitude, listening to every word the pastor said, until he 
sat down. After a few moments of profound silence, she 
straightened herself up, and pointing one finger directly at the 
minister, said, in a strong emphatic tone: " BrotJier Tlmrman^ 
ril tell you zvhat the matter Is — Stop preacJimg JoJiii Calvin and 
James Aiminiiis, and preach Jesiis Christ. " After a few moments, 
Mr. Thurman arose, with the tears streaming down his cheeks, 
and repeated the text : " /^or I determined not to knozv anything' 
among yon save Jesus Chiist, and him erucified." The sermon 
that followed was one of thrilling power and eloquence. A re- 
revival commenced, during which 100 persons were added to 
Nolin church. The revival influence spread papidly over the 
surrounding country, and there were over 1,000 conversions 
within the bounds of Salem Association. 

This was perhaps the last great work God wrought by this 
faithful servant. He had labored about sixteen years in this 
association, with wonderful success, and no man in it ever en- 
joyed a larger share of confidence and affection than did he. 
The following extract from the diary of Elder John Duncan, 
for 1834, will show something of the estimation in which this 
godly man was held: " August 24th. No life expected for Bro. 
Thurman, That night, I dreamed that Bro, Thurman was dead, 
and that I helped to lay him out. While laying him out, he 
came to life, and talked to me. I then awoke and slept no 
more that night, 

"August 25th. Early in the morning, I started to Bro. 
Thurman's, fearing every minute that I would meet some one 
who would tell me he was dead. When I got in sight of the 
house, Mr. Farris told me he was dead. Ann Judson's ex- 
pression, when she arrived at the Isle of France, and heard ot 
the death of her friend, Harriet Newel, came into my mind: 
* Oh death; thou destroyer of human felicity. ' I went to the 
house and saw many weeping. Old Sister Lucas met me at 
the gate, and told me that Davy was gone home." 

336 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Thus, after lingering some weeks with typhoid fever, 
passed away from earth this faithful servant of Christ, on the 
25th of August 1834, in the 43d year of his age. 

In person, Mr. Thurman was low, heavy built, and rather 
corpulent, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair. 

In doctrine, he was an Ultra Calvinist, but was a strong 
advocate of home and foreign missions. He was a strong, 
chaste speaker, and his sermons exhibited the fruits of a richly 
endowed and well disciplined mind. He was Moderator of Sa- 
lem Association from 1830, till his death. 

David Elkin appears to have been one of the early pas- 
tors of Good Hope church, in which he was probably raised 
up to the ministry. He was a man of extraordinary natural in- 
tellect, but was uncultivated, being barely able to read. He 
was extremely poor, as to this world's goods ; and what was 
worse, he was very indolent and slovenly in his dress. Yet it 
pleased the Lord to use him to good account, especially in the 
early days of his ministry. He labored with a good degree of 
success, among the churches of Russel's Creek Association, and 
preached the introductory sermon before that body, in 18 14. 
Not far from 1820, he united with the Separate Baptists of No- 
lynn Association, and preached among them some twenty-five 
or thirty years. His reputation was somewhat sullied in his 
latter years, perhaps from too free a use of strong drink. 

John Chandler was a number of years pastor of Good 
Hope church. He was a member of that church at a very ear- 
ly period, if he did not enter into its constitution. Though 
far advanced in life, he appears to have been set apart to the 
ministry, in this church, subsequent to 1802, at which time he 
was clerk of Green River Association, and was not a preacher. 
He was, at that time, 46 years old, and evidently a man of 
much prominence in the association. He was clerk of Russel's 
Creek Association, from its organization, in 1804, till 1808, 
when (in 1809,) he was chosen Moderator of that body, one 
year. From 18 10, he served it as clerk ten consecutive years. 
He probably began to preach, about 1810, and was ordained 
pastor of Good Hope church,, in 181 1. In 1816, he was a 
member of Stewart's Creek in Washington county, but con- 
tinued to serve Good Hope church as pastor, till 1826, when 
he resigned on account of old age, he being about 71 years old. 

Wzl/is Peck. 337 

He lived at least eight years after this, and continued to 
preach, as he had strength and opportunity. He is still re- 
membered with much respect and affection, by the aged. 

Horatio Chandler was the son John Chandler, and suc- 
ceeded his father in the pastoral care of Good Hope church. 
He was a fair English scholar, was endowed with a good intel- 
lect, and wielded a ready pen, but possessed a very moderate 
speaking talent, and did not succeed very well, as a preacher. 
He maintained a good moral character, and was an enterprising 
business man, in his private affairs, in the secular affairs of his 
denomination, and in the business department of Christian 
work. He was thought to have his heart too much set on 
money-making, for a preacher. He succeeded his father as 
clerk of Russells Creek Association, and served in that capacity 
1 8 years. .He did not live to be old. 

Willis Peck was among the ablest and best pastors 
Good Hope church ever had. During a long ministry, in sev- 
eral different sections of the state, he was a valuable minister of 
Jesus Christ. His father, Benjamin Peck, was an early, but 
a weak Baptist preacher. He was probably raised up to the 
ministry in Brush Creek in Mercer county, and lived most of 
his ministerial life in the neighborhood of Perryville, Boyle 
county, and preached at that village, and at other places in the 
surrounding country. He was regarded a good singer, and 
possessed a fair gift for exhortation. Two of his sons, George 
B. and Willis, were good preachers. 

Willis Peck was born in what is now Boyle county, Ky. , 
January, i8ii. He received a common English education, pro- 
fessed conversion in early life, and was baptized by Joel Gor- 
don. He was ordained, in early manhood, to the ministry, af- 
ter which he went to Todd county, and spent some time, evan- 
gelizing. Returning to Central Kentucky, he took the care of 
Mt. Salem church in Lincoln county. Here he married Eliza 
Jones. They had one son, and the young mother died. After 
the death of his wife, Mr. Peck accepted the pastoral care of 
the churches at Danville, and New Providence, in Boyle 

In 1853, he married Elizabeth, daughter of George Philips, 
of Lebanon. He continued to preach at New Providence, seven 
or eight years. He also preached at Sugar Grove church in 

338 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Garrard county. In i860, he moved to Woodford county, 
where he took charge of Clover Bottom church, and also of 
Unity church in Mercer county. To these he preached about 
four years. In 1864, he moved to Taylor county, and took 
charge of the churches at Campbellsville and Pleasant Hill. At 
the time of his death, he was preaching at Salem, Pleasant 
Hill, Brush Creek and Good Hope. He preached his last ser- 
mon at Pleasant Hill, and was much exhausted, before he fin- 
ished his discourse. He anticipated his departure, and directed 
that, of his small property, ;^50 should be given to missions — 
;^iO of that to the Rome Chapel. He then told his wife to tell his 
brethren that he died at his post. His last words were: "I 
am almost over the river." He passed to his reward, July 25, 

Mr. Peck was plain, strong, practical preacher, firm in 
principle, prompt in decision, and energetic in action. He was 
three years clerk of South District Association, while living in 
its bounds, and was Moderator of Russell's Creek Association, 
for several years before his death. 

Deep Creek church is located in the south-western part 
of Mercer county, and belongs to South District Associa- 
tion. It was probably gathered by James Keel, who became 
its first pastor. It was constituted in 1796, and the same year, 
applied for admission into South Kentucky Association, on the 
records of which it is described as "the Church on Chaplin." On 
account of some objection to its faith, constitution, or dis- 
tinguishing appellation, it was not recieved into full fellowship. 
The objectionable features were probably removed by the next 
year, and the church remained a member of the old South Ken- 
tucky fraternity, until the peaceable division of that body in 
1 801, when it fell into its present associational connection. Ten 
years after its constitution, it numbered 44 members, and the 
next year, was reduced to 35. In 18 12, it enjoyed a revival, ■ 
which increased its membership to 75. The following year, 
Joel Gordon was called to its pastoral care, and served it about 
25 years, during which it enjoyed prosperity. B. F. Keeling 
succeeded Mr. Gordon, and after his death, David Bruner be- 
came its pastor. It has to the present time continued prosper- 
ous. In 1879, it numbered 223 members, and was the largest 
church in South District Association, except Forks of Dix river. 

Benjaviin Foivlev Keeling. 339 

James Keel, who has been accredited as the founder, un- 
ier God, of Deep Creek church, was a native of Virginia, and 
vas raised up to the ministry, in that state. In 1780, he moved to 
East Tennessee, where he aided in raising up the first churches in 
:hat region. He assisted in organizing Holston Association, 
Nx'Ca which South Kentucky Association corresponded. Mr. 
Keel was the preacher in Cherokee Creek church, Washington 
:ounty, Tennessee, as late as 1790. Between this period and 
1796, he moved to Kentucky, and settled in Mercer county. 
Here he is accredited with raising up Deep Creek church, as re- 
lated above. He continued to serve this church probably till as 
late as 18 12, although he had become a member of Salt 
River church, as early as 1806, and possibly went into its 
constitution in 1798. He must have been quite an old man in 
1812, after which his name appears on no accessible record. 

Benjamin Fowler Keeling, succeeded Joel Gordon, as pas- 
tor of Deep Creek church. He was a preacher of fine abilities, 
and was very popular. He was one of the leading ministers of 
Baptist Association before which he preached the introductory 
sermon, on four occasions, and of which he was moderator six 

He was born of very poor, but pious and respectable Bap- 
tist parents, in Washington county, Kentucky, 1808. His father, 
John Keeling, was a native of Washington county, and, al- 
though in very lowly circumstances, was respected as a man of 
piety. He Qccasionally engaged in public exhortation. His son 
was brought up to labor on a rented farm, during " crop time." 
The remainder of the year, he " hired out, " to work by the 
day, or month, to aid in the support of his father's family. He, 
however, possessed a sprightly mind, and managed to learn to 
read and write. In his youth, he professed conversion, and was 
baptized into Rockbridge church, by Elijah Summars, who had 
raised up this church, in the northern part of Washington 

Young Keeling soon began to pray and exhort in public, 
and the church licensed him to preach. His efforts were quite 
acceptable, and he gave indications of usefulness. But on being 
appointed constable, he gave himself to secular pursuits. He 
soon became mvoived in a difficulty, about some business trifle, 
and was exclude^ ^rom the church. Being a very popular young 

340 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

man, a considerable party of the church adhered to him. This 
party set up a claim to being a church, and Mr. Keeling was in- 
duced to accept an irregular ordination, and become its pastor. 
Of this imprudent step, however, he soon repented, and was re- 
stored to the fellowship of Rockbridge church. He now re- 
turned to the work of a licensed preacher. 

About this time he was married to Rebecca, daughter of 
John Gordon, and niece of that eminently godly minister of 
Christ, Joel Gordon. She was a Baptist, and a devoted christian 
woman, and made him a good wife. The fruits of this marriage 
were seven sons and three daughters, most of whom, like the 
children of Job, have given themselves to feasting, rather than 
to godliness. 

In 1840, Mr. Keeling was ordained to the pastoral care of 
Salem church (into the recent constitution of which he had en- 
tered), by John Dean, Joel Gordon, David Bruner, and Reuben 
Searcy. He was soon afterwards called to the care of Deep 
Creek, Glens Creek, and Rockbridge churches. He was also 
supply for several other churches, at different periods. 

After laboring several years, in this field, with a good de- 
gree of success, he moved to Illinois, where he remained one 
year. But being dissatisfied with the country, he returned to 
his old field of labor in Kentucky. 

Soon after returning from Illinois, he was elected justice of 
the peace. But finding this office incompatible with his minis- 
terial duties, he resigned the magistracy, at the expiration of 
two years, and now gave himself more earnestly and consistantly 
to the work of the ministry. He was a good business man, a 
little inclined to wordly ambition, in his youth, and not indif- 
ferent about money-making. He was a good economist, and 
easily acquired property ; was very popular with the world, as 
well as the church, and the way to local fame was open before 
him. He had a hard struggle with the world. But finally the 
grace of God overcame. His fine gifts were at last consecrated 
to his holy calling. His success, both in building up the 
churches, and in leading sinners to Christ, was abundant. He 
rose rapidly in the estimation of his brethren, and, in a short 
time, was the most popular preacher in his assooiation. " Who- 
soever honoreth me," said the blessed Savior, '• him will my 
Father honor." But Mr. Keeling did not long enjoy his honor, 

David Bruner. 341 

among the brethren, or pursue his course of usefulness. His 
work on earth was soon done. He died of typhoid fever, July 

27, 1854- 

In docrine, Mr. Keeling was moderately calvinistic, but 
urged all men to repent and believe the gospel. His address 
was tender and pathetic, and he often wept profusely, while 
dwelling on the love of God, or the sufferings of Christ. He 
addressed the hearts of the people with great power. His con- 
gregations were often bathed in tears, and the Lord added many 
seals to his ministry. 

David Bruner was the fourth pastor of Deep Creek church, in 
which capacity he served twenty-two years. Mr. Bruner, it is 
believed, was of German extraction, and was born in Jessamine 
county, Kentucky, 18 10. He was early left an orphan. His 
mother died when he was only six years old. On her death bed 
she called him to her side, and, placing her hand on his head, 
said : ' ' My son! be a good boy and meet me in heaven." Young 
as he was, the impression made by his mother's dying words was 
never effaced. 

When about eight years old, he was brought to Mercer 
county by Michael Horn, who raised him up with his family, till 
he was eighteen years old. In his 21st year, he professed re- 
ligion and was baptized by Joel Gordon. He soon felt impressd 
with a sense of duty to preach the glad tidings of salvation to lost 
sinners. He was wholly illiterate, but his heart was stirred with 
a great desire to know the will of God. With the help of his 
wife he was soon able to read the Bible. This holy book he 
studied with great zeal and diligence. Meanwhile, he began to 
hold meetings at school houses and the private residences of the 
people. He was doubtless very awkward and ignorant. But the 
deep feeling he manifested and his great earnestness in trying to 
lead sinners to the Savior, brought the people together to hear 
him. He possessed good natural gifts, and his improvement in 
speaking was so satisfactory to the church that his ordination 
was called for. Accordingly, in 1842, he was set apart to the 
sacred office of the ministry, by Strother Cook, Willis Peck and 
Joel Gordon. He was soon called to the care of Deep Creek 
church, and then to that of others. He has lived and labored 
in the same locality during his whole ministry, and perhaps no 
man in the State has been better adapted to his field of labor. 

342 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

He has served as pastor, at different periods, twenty churches. 
He has aided in constituting eight churches, most of which he 
has gathered by his own labors, and has baptized about two 
thousand people. He is now (1885) in his 75th year, and is 
still laboring in the cause of his beloved Master. 

Mr. Bruner is regarded only a moderate preacher. He is 
a good exhorter and sings well. Yet no one of his gifts seems 
extraordinary. His greatness which his works unmistakably de- 
clare, consists in his industry, diligence and faithfulness to the 
Master in whom he trusts, and by whose blessing he pre- 

The distinguished John L. Waller, is reported to have said, 
(in substance) after hearing David Bruner preach: 'T would give 
anything I could command to be able to preach like that man." 
It is related that the great and godly William Vaughan, while 
preaching on the subject of God's accomplishing great ends 
by feeble instruments, turned to David Bruner, who was sitting 
behind him on the stand, and said (substantially): "See what 
this raw Dutchman can do when upheld by the power of 

Mt. Nebo church, originally called Dreaming Creek, and 
popularly known as Woods' Meetinghouse, first appears on the 
minutes of Tates Creek Association, in 1796. It was located 
in Madison county, about three miles from Richmond. This 
church appears to have been a daughter of Otter Creek, and 
was probably gathered by Christopher Harris and Peter Woods 
and by them constituted the same year it was received into 
the Association; at which time it numbered ninety members. 
From its constitution, it was a prominent and influential mem- 
ber of Tates Creek Association. Peter Woods and Christopher 
Harris, who were in its constitution, were both active and use- 
ful preachers. In 1829, it numbered 116 members. But the 
next year, it was torn in factions, and a large proportion of its 
membership was carried away by the Campbellite schism. In 
1832, it contained only sixty-three members. After this, it 
gradually withered away till it dissolved. 

Peter Woods was of Scotch-Irish extraction, and came early 
from Virginia to Madison county, Kentucky. Here he united 
with Otter Creek church, in which he was ordained to the min- 
istry in 1795, by David Thompson and Andrew Tribble. The 

Petef Woods. 343 

following year, he entered into the constitution of Mt. Nebo 
church, of which he appears to have been the pastor for about 
thirteen years. He soon rose to prominence among the min- 
isters of Tates Creek Association, of which he was moderator, 
from 1805 till 1809. Not long after the latter date, he moved 
to the Boones Lick country in Missouri. Here he labored with 
other Kentucky preachers, in building up the churches of which 
Mount Pleasant Association was formed. One of these churches 
was Mt. Nebo, and was doubtless gathered by the first pastor 
of Mt. Nebo church in Kentucky. Mr. Woods was moderator 
of Concord Association, a daughter of Old Mt. Pleasant, as late 
as 1824 — perhaps a year or two later, when, it is supposed, the 
good Master called him up higher. 

The work of the Kentucky Baptists during the year 1796, 
appears very small. Yet it was by no means unimportant. Six 
churches were planted. Some of them were in the midst of 
wide fields of destitution. Two of them are still large and 
flourishing churches, and even those whose original stocks have 
perished, have left many flourishing scions to bless the broad 
lands, on which they grow, with the generous fruits of faith, 
hope and love. 



The year 1797 was one of peace and quiet among the 
churches of Kentucky. The httle want of confidence in the 
orthodoxy of Tates Creek Association of United Baptists, on 
the part of Elkhorn Association, was removed this year, and a 
fraternal correspondence has been kept up between the two 
bodies to the present day. Salem Association was in full accord 
with Elkhorn and Tates Creek Associations. South Kentucky 
Association with her eighteen churches and 1,300 members, 
stood off from the others like the Samaritans from the Jews. 
And as no overture for union was made to her this year, she 
had no opportunity to vent her ill humor. 

Very little business engaged the attention of the Associa- 
tions. Elkhorn condemned parades at funerals, decided that it 
was proper for a minister of Christ to preach the gospel where 
the people assembled to inter the dead, but denied that preach- 
ing at a funeral was necessary to the decent burial of the dead. 
She appointed a committee to meet with some brethren in Ma- 
son county, to consider the propriety of organizing a new As- 
sociation, dismissed Columbia church to go into an association 
about to be formed in Ohio, advised the churches to be on their 
guard against the imposition of one Robert Smith, who had been 
excluded from his church, and was preaching around over the 
country, and appointed a committee of her ablest preachers to 
guard against clerical impostors. Salem Association warned the 
churches against encouraging Reuben Smith, till he should put 
his letter into some church. 

There was a manifest increase of spiritual interest among 
the churches. The hearts of the earnest ministers and pious 
church members rejoiced at the prospect of an approaching 


Goshen C/mrck. 345 

revival. The indications were indeed slight; but "a cloud as 
1 man's hand," rising on a brazen sky after so long a drought, 
ifforded the eager watchmen grounds of hope. Only a few of 
:he churches shared in the ingathering of the year; but some of 
:hese had a large blessing. Limestone church received by bap- 
tism seventy-seven, Mays Lick, forty-three, and Bracken, 157. 
rhese churches were all in Mason county. Several other 
:hurches received smaller numbers. There werejust seventy 
:hurches with an aggregate membership of about 4,436, repre- 
>ented in the four associations, which then existed in the State, 
rhe aggregate number of baptisms was probably something near 
ive hundred. This was much the largest ingathering the 
;hurches had enjoyed since the revival of 1789. There was also 
m increased activity in planting new churches, to which the at- 
;ention of the reader must now be directed. 

Goshen church is located in Clark county, some ten miles 
lortheast from Winchester. It was probably gathered by William 
Payne, at whose house it was constituted by him, Ambrose 
Dudley and Donald Holmes, Jan. 14, 1797. William Payne 
Dreached to it about two years, when the distinguished David 
Barrow became its pastor. He continued in the pastoral care, 
ill about 1802, when he resigned on account of his anti-slavery 
lentiments. In 1804, at which time it numbered seventy-one 
nembers, it took a letter from Elkhorn Association, and joined 
SForth District. From 1816 to 1855, good old Thomas Boone 
)reached to this church. For many years it was a flourishing 
)ody but about 1840, it allied itself with the Anti-missionary 
Baptists, after which it withered, but is still a respectable church. 

William Payne appears to have been a preacher of very 

noderate ability, among the pioneers of Central Kentucky. He 

lettled near Lexington, and was a licensed preacher in Town 

l^ork church, as early as 1790. He was associated with Am- 

)rose Dudley in raising up some of the early churches, as far 

vestward as Henry county. In 1797, he went into the consti- 

ution of Goshen church,' and became its pastor for a short time. 

.n 1802, he moved to Washington in Mason county, and was for 

lometime a preacher in the church at that village. In 18 10, he 

vent into Licking Association of Particular Baptists, among 

vhom he remained as late as 1821, after which his name disap- 

jeared from the records. 

346 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Edward Kindred was an Englishman, who was in the 
Bush settlement in Clark county, at an early period. He was 
baptized into the fellowship of old Providence church, in 1790. 
The following year he was chosen deacon of that body. He was 
afterward put into the ministry, and in 1804 was called to preach 
at Goshen church. He was regarded a good man, with very 
moderate gifts. He labored in the ministry many years, in 
Clark county, and died childless. 

Ravens Creek church united with Elkhorn Associa- 
tion, in 1797. It embraced, at that time, sixteen members. In 
1 80 1, it received 104 by baptism, increasing its membership to 
127. But was gradually reduced in numbers, till in 1808, ithad 
thirty-eight members. In 18 10 it entered into the constitution 
of Licking Association. It contained about the same number 
of members, in 1848, when it was dropped from that Associa- 
tion, for being in disorder. The "disorder" probably consisted 
in that refractory church engaging in some of the benevolent 
enterprises of the day. 

Bethel church, formerly called Tick Creek,* is located on 
a small stream from which it derived its original name, about 
five miles east of Shelbyville. It was probably gathered by 
Joshua Morris, or James Dupuy, and was constituted in 1797. 
It first united with Elkhorn Association, to which it reported a 
membership of sixteen, the same year it was constituted. In 
1799, it took a letter from Elkhorn, and joined Salem Associa- 
tion, at which time it numbered twenty-four members. In the 
division of the latter fraternity, in 1803, it fell into Long Run 
Association, at which time it numbered 107 members. Five 
years afterward, when George Waller took the pastoral care of 
it, the number of its members had been reduced to forty-five. 
Mr. Waller preached to the church twenty-three years, when, in 
1832, he accepted an appointment to ride as missionary in the 
State of Kentucky, one year, under the direction of the Ken- 
tucky Baptist Convention, which had just been organized. At 
this time the church numbered 186 members. At Mr. Waller's 
solicitation, John Holland was invited to serve the church dur- 
ing Mr. Waller's absence. When his year expired, and Mr. 
Waller returned from the missionary field to resume his pastoral 

* Both in Manley's Annals of Elkhorn Association, and Clacks History 
of Salem Association, the name is improperly printed "Lick Creek." 

Stark Dupuy. 347 

charges, it was ascertained that a strong anti-missionary element 
had been developed in the church. It was also made to appear 
that Mr. Holland, although a portion of the year under the em- 
ployment of the same missionary board that employed Mr. Wal- 
ler, the church not knowing it, had encouraged the anti-mis- 
sionary spirit. This led to unpleasant feelings between the 
preachers, which required several years for adjustment. In 1835 
the church attained to a membership of 259. But the two ele- 
ments — missionary and anti-missionary — were irreconcilable. 
The church divided. The anti-missionary party was in the ma- 
jority, and kept the house, the name and the records. The 
missionary party is the present prosperous church at Clay Vil- 
lage, which belongs to Shelby county Association, and in 1879, 
numbered 140 members. Old Bethel church united with Lick- 
ing Association, and though next to the largest in that body, in 
1876, it numbered only forty-three members. 

Stark Dupuy was, in its early day, raised up to the min- 
istry in Bethel church. And, although he has been briefly 
spoken of elsewhere, a few words may be added here. His 
father, James Dupuy, was among the early Baptist preachers in 
Powhatan county, Va., where his son Stark was born. He was 
an early emigrant to Kentucky. After spending some years in 
Woodford county, he moved to Shelby, and settled on Tick 
creek. Here Stark Dupuy received, at least, a good English 
education for that day. He early entered the ministry, and was 
"aboy " of extraordinary sprightliness. He was a young man 
of fine energy and public spirit. In 18 12, he commenced the 
publication of The Kentucky Missionary and Theologian, 
he being the sole editor. It was a quarterly magazine, four 
numbers of which made a volume of 244 pages. The first num- 
ber was printed by the public printer, at Frankfort, in May, and 
the volume was completed in the following February. At the 
latter date, its publication was suspended, as the editor stated, 
till the War should close. Mr. Dupuy, who was doubtless the 
first Baptist editor of a religious periodical, west of the Alle- 
gheny Mountains, did not resume the publication of his journal ; 
for soon after its suspension"^ Silas M. Noel commenced, in 1813, 
the publication of TJie Gospel Herald, that more than filled the 
3lace of its predecessor. 

Mr. Dupuy was a man of delicate constitution. He moved 

343 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

early to Tennessee in search of a mild climate. Here he aided 
in raising up the first churches in that region, and forming them 
into old Forked Deer Association, of which he was the first 
moderator. After his lungs became so much diseased as to 
prevent his preaching, he compiled a hymn book, known as 
Dupuy's Hymns, which was, for many years, among the most 
popular works of the kind in the Mississippi Valley. He died 
in the prime of life, with that fatal malady, popularly known as 
consumption of the lungs. 

Harrods Creek church is, by several years, the oldest fra- 
ternity of the kind on the northern border of the State, below 
Old Bullittsburg, in Boone county. It takes its name from the 
principal watei course in Oldham county, and is located six 
miles from the Ohio river, and about the same distance from 
LaGrange, the county seat of Oldham. '■ 

It is probable that the first settlement, formed in Oldham 
county, was made near the present location of Harrod's Creek 
church, about 1788. Among the settlers, were the Shirleys, 
Glores, Wilhoits, Yeagers, and a young Baptist exhorter of the 
name of William Kellar. Most, or all of these families, were 
Germans, and a number of Baptists were among them. Mr. Kel- 
lar made regular appointments, and preached to the people, at 
his own house, for a number of years. In 1797, he procured 
ministerial aid, and the Baptists in the settlement were consti- 
tuted the Regular Baptist church on Harrods creek. Mr. Kellar 
was immediately chosen pastor, and continued to occupy that 
position till his death, in 18 17. 

Harrods Creek church was received into Salem Associa- 
tion the same year it was constituted, and remained in that con- 
nection six years. In 1803, it went into the constitution of 
Long Run Association. It numbered, at that time, 151 mem- 
bers. At the death of Mr. Kellar, it contained 279 members- 
Benjamin Allen succeeded Mr. Kellar in the pastoral office, and 
preached to the church, till 183 1, when it numbered 209 mem- 
bers. Mr. Allen has now become a zealous follower of Camp" 
bell, and, being exceedingly popular, carried about seven- 
eighths of the church into the heresy of Campbellism. The 
Baptists separated themselves from the Campbellites, and 
called the distinguished George Waller to minister to them. In 
two years they had increased to 40 members, and, in 1855, 

William Kellar. 349 

when it had united with Sulphur Fork Association, it numbered 
only Gj members. Its growth has been very slow, but it has 
been distinguished for its steadfastness in the faith, promptness 
in discipline, and the warm spirituality of its membership. In 
1879, ^^ reported ninety members. 

William Kellar was the first pastor of Harrods Creek 
church. He was the son of Abram Kellar, a pious German, and 
was born in Shenandoah county, Va., about the year 1768. Al- 
though his father was a man in prosperous circumstances, the 
condition of the new country was such that his large family of 
children grew up with but little education. William was the 
youngest of eight children. His mother died soon after his 
birth, and he was left fatherless before he was grown. He was 
a wild, wicked youth. Just before the father's death, he called 
William to his bedside, presented him a large Bible, and said to 
him : " My son, this is your portion." The youth received it 
from the dying father with a feeling of anger, mentally saying: 
" Is this all you mean to give me. " However, the good old 
man willed him the valuable farm on which he lived. He con- 
tinued to live in vice and folly, till sometime after the death of 
his father, when he was alarmed under the preaching of James 
Ireland, who suffered so bitterly in Culpeper Jail " for preach- 
ing the gospel contrary to law." However, young Kellar soon 
shook off his c6nvictions, married the daughter of Colonel John 
Netherton, and moved to East Tennessee. Here his convic- 
tions were soon renewed, under the preaching of John Mulky, 
by whom he and his young wife were shortly afterwards bap- 
tized. Soon after this, he removed to Kentucky, and, after re- 
maining a short time near Lexington, settled on Harrods creek, 
where he spent the remainder of his life. In this new settlement, 
there were about an equal number of Methodists and Baptists, 
but no preacher of any kind ; for Mr. Kellar was not licensed to 
preach for several years after this. The two sects, agreed to lay 
aside their differences, so far as to worship together. They held 
night meetings, for prayer, at the different houses in the settle- 
ment. After awhile, Mr. Kellar began to exhort at the prayer- 
meeting, and was soon acklowedged the leader among them. 
Having no opportunity of becoming a church, in legal form, 
about eleven Baptists gave their church letters to Mr. Kellar, 
agreeing to watch over each other as brethren, and chose him as 

350 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

their leader and teacher. In this way they progressed, till 1797, 
when they were regularly constituted a church. Mr. Kellar was 
continued as their preacher, and in due time was ordained to the 
ministry. Soon after his ordination, he began to baptize, and, 
among others, baptized several of his old Methodist friends. 
This led to a debate with the Circuit rider, who was after- 
wards Bishop McAndrew. 

Soon after Harrod's Creek church was constituted, and 
before his ordination, Mr. Kellar heard of a new settlement, 
ten or twelve miles east of him. To this he made his way on 
foot, through the unbroken forest. Here he found four Bap- 
tists. He continued to visit this settlement till, in 1800, a 
church was constituted, which is still known as Eighteen- 
Mile church. To this organization, he ministered seventeen 
years. For a number of years, he walked to his appoint- 
ments, always carrying his gun and knife. His descendants 
:-.till tell about his killing a very large bear, while on his way 
•:o preach at Eighteen-Mile, one Sunday morning. • 

Two years after Eighteen-Mile church was constituted, he 
gathered another church, four or five miles south of the former, 
which was called Lick Branch (now LaGrange). To this he 
ministered fifteen years. Meanwhile, he had accepted a call to 
Beargrass church, which had been constituted in 1784. Mr. 
Kellar ministered to these four churches monthly, without pay, . 
traveled and preached much among the destitute, and raised 
nine children, of whom eight were daughters. " And yet," 
says his biographer, Abram Kellar, " I know of no man whose 
property has increased more rapidly than his." 

When the War of 1 8 12 broke out, Mr. Kellar, who hadj 
served in some of the wars with the Southern Indians, like Da-^ 
vid, left his flocks in the wilderness, and went to see how his 
brethren did in the Northwestern army. He was captain of k 
mounted riflemen, in the campaign against the Indians, in lU-l 
inois. Wlien the campaign closed, he returned to his pastoralj 
charges, and continued his labors, with much success, till his 
last illness*. The illness was supposed to have resulted from the 
bite of a bear. Having shot the animal, and supposing it to be 
dead, he went up with his knife to " stick it," when it seizec 
him by the calf of his leg, mangling it fearfully. The woun( 
never healed. His illness continued about three weeks. The 

William Kellar. 351 

night before his death, he asked his wife if the family were to- 
gether; being answered in the affirmative, he seemed to resume 
all his strength of reason and voice ; he commenced praying for 
his family ; then for the church, and the preachers, and finally 
for all mankind. He thus continued to pray till he was ex- 
hausted. Next day, November 6, 18 17, he breathed his last. 

Few men have been better fitted for pioneer preachers 
than was William Kellar. He possessed great physical strength 
and courage, and unflagging industry. And it added much to 
his popularity, that he was a skillful hunter, "a boss me- 
chanic" — cabinetmaker, — and "the best hand in the settle- 
ment, at a log-rolling, or house-raising. " He was of a cheer- 
ful temperament, and extremely easy and charming in conver- 
sation. " His doctrine was built on sovereign grace," and he 
was eminently practical in applying it. He was so industrious 
and wise in the management of his business affairs, that, with- 
out entering into speculation, he supported his family well, 
without any compensation Tor preaching. His energy and in- 
dustry in preaching the gospel was not inferior to that directed 
to the support of his family. He would walk ten miles through 
a pathless forest, with a rifle on his shoulder, preach to the 
people, and return home again the same day. 

Of him, John Taylor says : " Everything that is calculated 
to recommend a man to his fellow-men was summed up in Mr. 
Kellar. Generosity, good will and liberality, as well as justice 
and truth, were predominant in him. Resignation to God or- 
namented him as a Christian. He was once asked what was a 
man's best evidence, that he was a Christian. His answer was, 
to have no will of his own. Some years passed, his house, 
then lately finished, was burnt down, with all his principal fur- 
niture in it. Being from home at the time, though hearing of 
it before he returned, he found his companion and little children 
in a poor, sorrowful, naked hut. The first words he said to 
her, with great cheerfulness, were : ' Well wife, do you feel 
like Job?' 

" As to preaching talents, he was not above mediocrity. 
He had a good understanding of the scriptures and a readiness 
of communicating his ideas, with a peculiar method of dealing 
with the heart, and a most winning address. His pathos was 
often such that every tender feeling of the heart was in heaven- 

352 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

ly emotion, so that his hearers would weep aloud, or loudly 
shout the praises of their God. His voice was naturally loud 
and melodious. But his singing oft-times seemed to do more 
than all the rest. Above that of all other men his singing 
seemed to come from above. At times, after preaching, he 
would leave the stage and strike up some heavenly song, his 
own eyes filled with tears of sympathy for his fellow-men ; and 
while he sang, ranged through the assembly and reached out 
his hand to all who came in his way, the flax that was only 
smoking before, would burst into a flame, and hundreds or 
thousands would be weeping or rejoicing at once. 

" Among men, there never was a more safe or more agree- 
able friend than William Kellar. Nor do I know of any man 
or preacher whose death could have made a greater chasm in 
the Baptist Society in Kentucky. Of the value of this man, a 
tenth part has not been told." He was moderator of Long 
Kun Association, three years, and was filling that position at 
the time of his death. He also preached the introductory ser- 
mon before that body four times. His only son, Abram Kel- 
lar, was a Baptist preacher in Illinois." 

Benjamin Allen was the second pastor of Harrods Creek 
church. He was a native of Virginia, and was born April 
28, 1776. He came with his father to Kentucky, in 1785. At 
the age of twelve years, he was apprenticed to Elder William 
Kellar for the purpose of learning the trade of a carpenter and 
cabinet-maker. He remained with Mr. Kellar six years. During 
this time he learned to read and write. While serving his ap- 
prenticeship, he professed conversion, and was baptized by Mr. 
Kellar into the fellowship of Harrods Creek church. Shortly 
after his baptism, he began to exercise in prayer and exhorta- 
tion. He was active and zealous, became a good, easy, fluent 
speaker, and ultimately one of the most pleasing and popular 
preachers in his region of the state. He Avas orthodox accord- 
ing to the Baptist standard, preached experimental religion with 
great warmth and zeal, and carried the hearts of the people with 
him as effettually as did Absalom. He became pastor of Flat 
Rock and Floyds Fork churches in Jefferson county, Dover in 
Shelby, and many were added to the churches through his min- 
istry. John Taylor compared him to Barnabas and added, 
that, like Barnabas he had been carried away by dissimulation. 

Bcnjaniui Allen. 353 

When Alexander Campbell began to propagate his doc- 
trine in Kentucky, Mr. Allen speedily received it, and by preach- 
ing it guardedly, carried a large majority of Flat Rock and 
Harrods Creek churches with him. The former was entirely 
destroyed as a Baptist church. A few members that held to 
Baptist principles, organized what is now Pleasant Grove church 
in Jefferson county. The history of Harrods Creek has been 
given above. After the final separation between the Baptists 
and Campbellites, Mr. Allen continued to preach among the lat- 
ter, till his death, which occurred April 6, 1838. 

The immediate occasion of the split of the churches in Long 
Run Association, was the rejection of two churches which made 
application for membership in that body. Their names were 
Pond Creek and Goose Creek, the former in Oldham, and the 
latter in Jefferson. These churches had been gathered by Mr. 
Allen and constituted after the manner of the Separate Baptist 
churches, without any written creed. Mr. Allen boasted that 
he was the first man in Kentucky that constituted a church which 
from its origin, discarded all creeds and confessions of faith. 
This, however, was an empty boast, since there were, at that 
time, two associations in the State embracing more than forty 
churches, and a number of them among the oldest in the State 
— not one of which had ever had a written creed or confession. 
Benjamin Allen was a man of great zeal and activity, and exert- 
ed a strong influence. He brought many people into the Bap- 
tist churches, but he took many more out. The Campbellites 
owe him more, and the Baptists less than any other man that has 
labored in the bounds of Tong Run Association. 

A. M. Ragsdale was pastor of Harrods Creek church a 
few years. He was born in Shelby county, Kentucky, August 
20, 1 8 10. He united with the church at Ballardsville in Oldham 
county, in 1839. Here he was licensed to preach, in 1842, and 
ordained, in October, 1844. He labored principally in Trimble 
county, where he gathered Middle Creek church, which was 
constituted of twenty members, October 20, i848, and Poplar 
Ridge, which was constituted in 1858. To these, Harrods Creek, 
Covington and perhaps some others, he ministered as pastor 
with a good degree of success. He died of typhoid fever, in 
his 5 2d year. 

Mr. Ragsdale was a good, sound practical preacher, and 

354 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

was much devoted to his holy calhng. Heliad a stern appear- 
ance, and seldom made a favorable impression on strangers, yet- 
few men were more beloved where he was well acquainted. He 
spent most of his ministerial life in the rough, hilly country along 
the Ohio river, in Trimble and Oldham counties, where his 
labors were much blessed from first to last. 

James Kinsolving was pastor of Harrcds Creek and La 
Grange churches, a short time about 1844. He proved to be a 
man of a turbulent spirit. He soon became involved in difficul- 
ties with several members of his charge, and was compelled to 
resign. He was an elderly man at that time. He moved some 
where in the region of Madisonville, and died. 

William Edmund Waller, Jr., became pastor of Harrods 
Creek church, in 1869. He was a son of A. D. Waller, grand- 
son of the distinguished George Waller, and a great grandson 
of the noted old pioneer preacher, William Edmund Waller. In 
intellectual gifts, he was not surpassed by any of these ancestors. 
His voice and delivery were both defective. But the matter 
of his theoretical discourses was clear, strong and logical. He 
was an effective, practical preacher, and an excellent disciplina- 
rian. It is doubted whether there was an nbler preacher or bet- 
ter pastor of his age, than he in the State, at the time of his 

W. E. Waller was born in Shelby county, Kentucky, Nov-| 
ember 17, 1845. While he was a child his parents moved tO' 
Louisville, where he received a fair English education, in the; 
city schools. After his parents moved back to Shelby county^ 
he labored on a farm till the breaking out of the war betweer 
the States, in 1861, when he became connected with the South- 
ern Army. At one time he was arrested and condemned by 
Federal court-martial to be shot as a spy. But some influential 
friends interfered, and procured a pardon for him. His health 
was so much impaired by exposure in the army, that henevei; 
recovered. At the close of the war he engaged in school teachi 
ing, for which he showed good capacity. In 1866, he professed 
conversion, joined Long Run church in Jefferson county, and 
was baptized by Walter E.- Powers. A few days after his bap- 
tism, he commenced exercising in public prayer, and in less than 
two months, he was licensed to preach in December, 1866. In. 
July, 1868, he was ordained to the work of the ministry. He 

William Edward Waller, Jr. 355 

spent about three years from the time he was hcensed, in the 
work of a missionary, in Jefferson, BuUitt, Shelby and FrankHn 
'counties, during which his labors were blessed to the conversion 
of many souls. He preached statedly to Fisherville and Cedar 
Creek churches, in Jefferson county, a short time. In 1869, he 
was chosen pastor of Harrods Creek, and afterwards, of Jeffer- 
sontown church. Between these, he divided his time, during 
the few remaining years of his brief life. He died of diabetis, 
at Jeffersontown, whither he had gone 10 fill his regular ap- 
pointment, November 10, 1878. His physician had warned him 
many months before that his disease was incurable, and must, 
ere long, terminate fatally. But he was faithful to the end. 

Mr. Waller was a close student, and had not only made 
himself familiar with the best works on theology, but had made 
considerable attainments in the Greek and Latin languages. 
With the Bible, he was remarkably familiar. His most marked 
characteristics were those of meekness, humility and self-depre- 
ciation. Few men were ever more beloved by those who knew 
him. "I am satisfied," says W. E. Power, "that he had a 
stronger hold on the affection of his people than any [other] man 
I ever knew." He was several years clerk of Long Run As- 

Long Run church is located on the eastern border of Jeffer- 
son county, about 18 miles from Louisville, and near a small 
tributary, of Floyds Fork, from which tributary it derives its 
name. According to the best authorities, it was constituted in 
1797. At this date, it united with Salem Association, of which 
it remained a member, till 1803, when it entered into the con- 
stitution of Long Run Association. At this time it numbered 
57 members. Who gathered it will probably not be known. 
The tradition that it was gathered by W. E. Waller is not prob- 
able, as he lived, at that time, in Fayette county. Joshua 
Morris, William Taylor, and Reuben Smith, lived nearest to its 
locality, at that time, and John Penny was much nearer than 
Waller. It is probable, but by no means certain, that John 
Penny was the first pastor. In 1802, South Long Run church 
was constituted partly of members from Long Run. In 1804, 
at a log-rolling in the neighborhood, the question as to whether 
or not a man would be justifiable in telling a falsehood, under 
any circumstances, was sprung. This illustration was proposed ; 

356 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

"Suppose a man has five children. The Indians come and kill 
four of them, the fifth one being hidden near by. The savages 
then ask the father if he has another child. Would he be jus- 
tifiable in telling them that he had not ?" The dispute grew warm. 
Some members of the church engaged in it. It finally got into 
Long Run church, and split it. The " lying party " moved 
three or four miles west, and were constituted " Flat Rock 
church" of seven members, the first Monday in March, 1805. 
In 18 1 2, Long Run sent out the third colony to form Dover 
church. This left the parent body only 62 members. From 
this time till 1821, her membership v/as reduced till she num- 
bered only 45. That year, 24 were added by baptism. In 1827, 
the church enjoyed a revival, during which 162 were added to 
her membership by baptism. This gave her a total membership 
of 272. 

This year Long Run church sent out her fourth colony, 
which joined with others in the constitution of Floyds Fork 
(now Fisherville) church. About 1833, John Dale was chosen 
pastor of Long Run, and served in that capacity nine years, dur- 
ing which he baptized 200, into its fellowship. Of these, he 
baptized loi during a revival, in the fall of 1839. From 1842, 
till 1 861, the church changed pastors seven times, and, of 
course, did not prosper. The expufsion of an old member, about 
1859, ^o'' keeping a disorderly grog-shop, caused much confu- 
sion in the church for two or three years. 

In 1 86 1, S. H. Ford, who was pastor of the church at 
that time, went South, on account of the War, and W. E. 
Powers, one of its own members, who had lately been brought 
into the ministry, supplied the pulpit until 1862, when he was 
regularly called to the pastoral care of the church, a position he 
still occupies (1885). When Mr. Powers began to preach to the 
church, it numbered 213 members, but was soon afterwards re- 
duced by a dismission of the colored members. Again, how- 
ever, it greatly prospered, so that, in 1872, it numbered 230 
members. It now sent out another colony to form Pewee 
Valley church, which was constituted, in 1873. In 1880, Long 
Run church numbered 183 members. 

Joseph Collins was born in Culpeper county, Va. , about 
1765. In early life he professed conversion, and was baptized 
by the eccentric Joseph Craig. About 1785, he was married to 

Joseph Collins, 357 

Delilah Morse, and, in 1786, moved in company with Elijah 
Craig and others, to Kentucky. This company of emigrants 
traveled across the mountains in mid winter, journeying several 
hundred miles along this route without passing a single settle- 
ment. They had to " camp out " every night, sometimes in 
deep snow, and at other times in a cold, drenching rain. They 
were always surrounded by blood-thirsty savages and ferocious 
wild beasts. The sufferings, especially of the women and child- 
ren, were very great. Towards the opening of spring, they 
reached the settlement, on Elkhorn. Here they met with many 
brethren with whom they were acquainted. 

After stopping a few years near Lexington, Mr. Collins 
moved to the western border of Shelby county, and settled on 
the waters of Long Run. He probably united with Brashears 
Creek church, near tbe present site of Shelbyville. In 1797, he 
went into the constitution of Long Run church, near his resi- 
dence. Here he was brought into the ministry, in the year 
1802. Three years after this, he was called to the care of Long 
Run church. He was pastor, afterwards, for short periods, of 
two or three neighboring churches. In 18 12, he was called to 
preach at Burks Branch, one year, in the absence of George 
Waller, the pastor. He died after a brief illness, in the fall of 

Mr. Collins possessed but moderate ability and small attain- 
ments, but he was a man of piety and zeal, and exercised a 
good influence over the settlers. The Lord blessed his labors, 
to his own glory and the good of the people. He left a numer- 
ous and respectable posterity, many of whom have been, and 
still are, members of Old Long Run, and the neighboring 

Joel Hulsy succeeded Joseph Collins as pastor of Long 
Run church. He was raised by very poor parents, near Little 
Mount church, in Spencer county. At an early age he professed 
the religion of Jesus. He went to Elk Creek church, and related 
his Christian experience. The brethren gave him the hand of 
Christian fellowship, but would not receive him into that church 
because he lived nearer to Little Mount. In April, 18 16, he 
united with Elk Creek by letter, and was at once licensed to 
preach. On the 19th of October, of the same year, he was or- 
dained to the ministry, by George Waller and William Stout. 

358 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

The following year, having been called to the careof Long Run 
and Dover churches, he took a letter and joined the latter. Af- 
ter preaching to these churches some years, he was called to 
New Castle in Henry county. He was also called to East Fork 
church in the same county. He probably preached to some 
other cnurches. 

Not far from 1835, he moved to Illinois, where he engaged 
in merchandising. He soon failed in business, and it was 
thought his mind became somewhat disordered before his 

In the early part of his minstry, Joel Hulsy was regarded 
one of the leading ministers of his association. He was success- 
ful in leading the unconverted to the Savior, in an eminent de- 
gree. But it was said that his wife was a worldly, ambitious 
woman, and could not be satisfied to live within his limited in- 
come. This drove him to speculation, and destroyed his in- 
fluence as a minister. 

John Hume Sturgeon succeeded Joel Hulsy as pastor Oi 
Long Run church. He was born in Jefferson county, Ken- 
tucky, October, 1790. His parents were Presbyterians, aVid 
brought up their son in the faith of their church, having him 
christened in infancy, and taught to repeat the Catechism, 
and observe the form of religion, as he grew up. Although these ' 
parents were orderly in their conduct, they afterwards acknow- 
ledged that they had never been born again. They sought and 
obtained the saving grace of God, and were baptized into the 
fellowship of Long Run church. Thojuas StuTgeoJi, the father, 
was remarkable for his piety and zeal, even in his old age. A 
short time before his death, he went to Long Run meeting. At 
the close of the services, he called all his children and grand- 
children around him, and exhorted them to meet him in Heaven. 
He then knelt down and prayed for them. Rising from his 
knees, he bade farewell, one by one, and then went home. A 
few days afterwards, he was called to his treasures in Heaven. 

John H. Sturgeon professed religion and was baptized into 
the fellowship of Long Run church, about the i6th year of his 
age. He soon began topray in public, and, afterward to exhort 
sinners to repent and seek the Lord. He was licensed to preach 
about 1812. It was some years after this before he was or- 
dained, by Joel Hulsy and others. He was probably pastor of 

John Dale. 359 

no church but Long Run, while he was in Kentucky. His gifts 
were quite meager. But his hfe was one of eminent purity, 
and devoted piety. In 1833, he moved to Pike county, Mis- 
souri, where he died in about a year. 

John Dale was the successor of J. H. Sturgeon, in the 
pastoral office at Long Run. He was born in Woodford county, 
Kentucky, November 6, 1789. He was the subject of very 
early religious impressions, and professed conversion at twelve 
years of age. He was baptized into the fellowship of Hillsboro' 
church, in Woodford county, by Edmund Waller, in 1801. 

He was married to Lienor, daughter of John Vaughan, Oct- 
ober 31, 1809. This union was blessed with three sons and five 
daug-hters, all of whom were raised to the estate of manhood and 
womanhood, but they all except William preceded him to the 

About the year 18 18, he moved to Shelby county, and set- 
tled on Long Run, where he united with South Long Run church. 
He was an active, zealous church member, and often exhorted 
among the people. The church here soon discovered a gift, 
which had been too long overlooked at Hillsboro'. 

He was licensed to preach about the year 1823, and some 
two years afterward, was ordained by Joel Hulsy and Zacheus 
Carpenter. He was immediately called to the pastoral care of 
Long Run church. He moved his membership to Long Run, 
where it remained till a church was formed at Simpsonville. He 
then became a member, and the pastor, of that fraternity. He 
was also pastor of Dover and Pleasant Grove churches. At all 
these, he was abundantly successful. At Long Run, in fifteen 
years, he baptized 305; at Simpsonville, in nine years, he bap- 
tized 297. He also baptized large numbers at Dover and Pleasant 

In 1849, his health which had been failing several years be- 
came so feeble that he was compelled to desist from active labor. 
He continued to preach occasionally, when his health would per- 
mit. He died from the effects of a tumor on his neck, March 
29, 1862. 

Among the many faithful ministers of the Cross that have 
labored to build up the cause of truth within the bounds of Long 
Run Association, none have been more suscessful than John 
Dale. During a period of twenty years, he labored with 

360 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

tireless zeal, and was, during that period, the most popular min- 
ister in his association. As an expositor of the scriptures, he 
was below mediocrity. His principal gift was that of exhorta- 
tion, and in this he has seldom, or never been surpassed, in Ken- 
tucky. He always drew large congregations, and never failed to 
rivet attention. Weeping and rejoicing commingled in every 
congregation he preached to. His exhortations consisted mainly 
in quotations from the scriptures, so forcibly applied that the 
effect was electrical. Although not a scholar, a profound 
thinker, nor a logician, he was eminently a great man. But 
above all, he maintained a spotless Christian character, an un- 
abating zeal for the salvation of sinners, and a constant, living 

John Dulaney was pastor of Long Run church a short time. 
He lived within the bounds of Sulphur Fork Association, and 
was in the ministry about twelve years. He possessed small 
preaching gifts, was unstable in his habits and purposes, and 
was not very profitable in the ministry. He died at his home 
in Bedford, in the 38th year of his age, about 1865. 

Walter Ellis Powers has held a longer pastoral term at 
Long Run, than any of his predecessors. He began to supply 
the pulpit of that church in October, 1861, was regularly in- 
duc-ted into the pastoral office, in July, 1862, and has served in 
that capacity without interruption to the present time (1885). 

W. E. Powers was born in Oldham county, Kentucky, 
June 26, 1824. He received a fair English education, with some 
knowledge of the Latin language. He professed conversion at 
a very early age, and was baptized into the fellowship of Dover 
church in Shelby county, by the now venerable E. G. Berry. 
Perhaps in his 21st year, he was married to Mary Jane Hurst- 
man, who has made him a most excellent wife. This marriage 
was blessed with six sons and five daughters, all of whom, except 
the eldest and the third sons, are living. Eight of them have 
been baptized into the fellowship of Long Run church. The 
other three^are small children. 

Soon after his marriage, Mr. Powers, who had been "a 
trader in produce down the Mississippi river," several years, 
entered into mercantile business, at Boston in Jefferson county. 
After a few years, he returned to his farm in Shelby county, 
where he still resides. In 1858, he became aroused to a more 

Walter Ellis Powers. 361 

lively sense of his religious duty, and in a feeling talk to his 
brethren, told the church at Long Run to which he had moved 
his membership, that he would try to discharge any duty they 
saw fit to lay upon him. In November of that year, he was 
licensed to preach. His great zeal and activity in the cause of 
the Master soon attracted favorable attention. On the 3d of 
November, 1859, he was ordained to the full work of the min- 
istry. The following year he was appointed missionary of Long 
Run Association. His labors in this field were crowned with 
extraordinary success. He visited most of the destitute points 
in his field, held meetings with the weak churches, encouraged 
the young preachers to active labor, and gathered two new 
churches. The same year he was called to the pastoral care of 
Beechland and Knob Creek — the two churches he had gathered 
— and the church at Jeffersontown. About 1863, he resigned 
the care of Knob Creek, in Bullitt county, and took charge of 
Mt. Washington church in the same county. Some nine or ten 
years after this, he resigned the care of Jeffersontown and Mt. 
Washington churches to give an additional Sunday to Beechland, 
and take charge of Sligo church, in Henry county. Since that 
time he has made no change in his pastoral relations,* except 
that he is at present supplying Fisherville church with monthly 
preaching. Besides his very successful labors as a pastor, he 
has held a great many protracted meetings, and it is supposed 
that not less than 2,000 people have joined the churches under 
his ministry. He is at present moderator of Long Run As- 

Hazle Creek church, located a few miles from Greenville 
in Muhlenburg county, is the oldest now existing in the State, 
west of the Louisville and Nashville railroad, except Severns 
Valley in Elizabethtown. It was the second church constituted 
in all that portion of Kentucky lying south of Green river. Un- 
ion, in Warren county, long since dissolved, being the first. 
The history of the settlement from which the church v/as gath- 
ered is lost. There seems to have been a man of the name of 
[[Walter?] Thomas, (father of the late Judge Walter Thomas of 
Allen county), an emigrant from North Carolina, among the 
first settlers. There was also a family of Downses among these 

* Since the above was written lie has resigned the care of Beechland 
and accejited that of Kings. 

362 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

pioneers. Among the members of Mr. Thomas' family was a 
young Baptist preacher of the name of Benjamin Talbot, a 
step-son of Mr. Thomas. 

In 1797, Mr. Talbot gathered four Baptists, besides him- 
self, from among the settlers, and the five were constituted 
" ' the Regular Baptist church of Jesus Christ on the Hazle Fork 
of Muddy river, December 3rd." It has since been known as 
Hazle Creek church. The nearest church to it was at a dis- 
tance of fifty miles. It seems to have grown very rapidly, un- 
der the pastoral charge of Benjamin Talbot : For, in April, 
1799, it established " an arm " at George Clark's on the west 
side of Pond creek. This year it first sent messengers to Mero 
District Association, a fraternity that had been formed in the 
northern part of Tennessee, in 1796. It remained in this A.ssocia- 
tion, till 1803. At that period, Mero District Association was dis- 
solved, on account of the bad conduct of a notorious preacher of 
the name oi Joseph Doiris. Dorris was a man of very considerable 
talents, and was a member, and the pastor, of one of the churches 
in this association. He was accused of grossly immoral con- 
duct. His guilt could not be proved, but was almost unani- 
mously believed. The association could neither get rid of 
him nor fellowship him. In this dilemma they resorted to the 
singular expedient of dissolving the association, and forming a 
new one of the same churches, leaving out those which adhered 
to Mr. Dorris. The new fraternity was called Cumberland. 
Of this association, Hazle Creek became a member. Three 
years after this (1806), the association became so large that it 
divided into two. The northern part took the name of Red 
River Association. Hazle Creek church either remained a 
member of this body or went into Green River Association 
where it remained till it entered into the constitution of Gasper 
River Association, in 18 12. It still belongs to this body. In 
1801, the notorious "Jo Dorris " found his way to Hazel Creek 
church, and was excluded from [the pulpit of] it, December 5, 
for preaching open communion. During this year, the pastor, 
with others, was sent to the settlement on Trade Water in Hen- 
derson county, to receive members into Hazle Creek church. 
In 1804, the church had become large enough to begin to send 
out colonies. Leroy Jackson was ordained to the ministry. 
^'The arm " on the west side of Pond creek was constituted a 

Benjamin Talbot. 363 

church now called Unity. Eighteen members were dismissed 
to form the church now called Midway. These churches were 
constituted in 1805. In 1806, 18 members were dismissed to 
form the church, at first called Long Creek, but since known 
^s Cana. In 1808, a council was appointed to constitute Cy- 
press church, and ordain Wilson Henderson for its pastor. 

Hazle Creek church continued to prosper till 1834, when 
its first pastor died. Since that date, it has changed pastors at 
least seventeen times. It must have possessed great vitality to 
maintain an existence under such treatment. In 1876, it num- ' 
bered 133 members. 

Benjamin Talbot is supposed to have been a native of 
North Carolina. He was born about 1760. At what time he 
moved west is not known. He was among the early settlers 
of what is now Muhlenburg county, Ky. So far as known, he 
was the first preacher that settled in the lower Green river val- 
ley. He raised up Hazle Creek church in 1797, and at once 
became its pastor. He was a man of great energy and daunt- 
less courage, and, from his little spiritual fort on Hazle creek, 
sallied out in all directions, bearing the message of peace to 
the settlers in a strange land. He planted many of the oldest 
churches in the lower Green river valley, and ministered to 
them until God raised up other preachers to take care of them. 
There is a tradition that Mr. Talbot was in Kentucky during 
the Indian wars. At one time he was shot through the thigh 
by an Indian rifleman. It was only a flesh wound, and he soon 
recovered, but carried the scar to his grave. In this encounter 
with the savages, he was separated from his company, and re- 
mained in the woods seven days without any food, except one 
" Johnny cake," which he had in his haversack. It was dur- 
ing this period of privation and danger, according to the tradi- 
tion, that he was awakened to a sense of guilt before God. 
But where, or by whom, he was baptized and brought into the 
ministry, is unknown. 

He continued to labor among the churches he had raised 
up, till the fall of 1834, when the Lord called him to his final 
reward, about the 74th year of his age. A handsome marble 
slab marks his resting place, near where stood his last earthly 
residence, in Butler county. 

" Elder Talbot," writes Elder J. D. Craig, "was a man of 

364 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

great decision of character. His purposes once formed were 
seldom changed. Heavy rains, hard winds and high waters 
were seldom obstacles between him and his churches. He was 
a man of rare talents. His gifts in exhortation and prayer were 
seldom equaled. He was a man of great earnestness, zeal 
and duration. He rarely delineated the sufferings of Christ 
except in tears. He traveled and preached much, and received 
very little compensation." 

E. P. O'Bannon, a preacher of small ability, was one of 
the pastors of Hazle Creek church. He was raised up to the 
ministry in the lower Green river country, was a warm, zealous 
exhorter, and a very earnest worker in the cause of his Mas- 
ter. He labored seven years as a licensed preacher, and was 
ordained in 1852. He was quite useful as a missionary, and 
was a valuable worker in protracted meetings. The Lord was 
pleased to add many seals to his ministry. He died of con- 
sumption of the lungs, June 25, 1861, aged about fifty years. 

ViNEY Fork church is located in the eastern part of Madi- 
son county. It has, for more than four score years, been one of 
the leading churches in Tates Creek Association, and has had 
in its membership a number of the best citizens of Madison 
county. It appears to have been gathered by that famous old 
pioneer, Christopher Harris. It was constituted in 1797, and j 
appears to have been first called " The United Baptist church of 
Christ on Muddy creek." If this appearance be correct, it united 
with Tates Creek Association the same year it was constituted, 
at which time it reported an aggregate membership of 20. It 
was represented in the Association, in 1799, under its present 
name, and numbered 45 members. The next year it was re-; 
duced to 34 ; but during the great revival, it received, in one 
year, 221, so that, in October, 1801, it numbered 255 members,] 
and was the largest church in the Association, except Tates 
Creek. After this, its membership was reduced, from time tol 
time, by dismissals to form new churches, till, in 1825, it re-j 
ported only 75 members. Again, in 1827-8, a refreshing fror 
the Lord brougbtitup to 167. ' But now came a day of dark-^ 
ness and confusion. The leaven of Campbellism, so indus-j 
triously and skillfully propagated by John Smith, Josiah Col- 
lins and others, had permeated all the churches in the Associa- 
tion. The Campbellite schism culminated, in 1830, and lefti 

Viney Fork ChiircJi. 365 

Viney Fork only 46 members. It rallied again, however, and 
enjoyed a gradual growth, till 1859, when it numbered 165. 
Ten years after this, the results of the War had reduced it to 
50 members, since which time it has increased its membership 
to about 100. 

Christopher Harris probably gathered Viney Fork church, 
was in its constitution, and served it as pastor about sixteen 
years. He probably came from Virginia to Madison county, 
Kentucky, where he settled, about 1795. Here he united with 
Dreaming Creek (afterwards Mount Nebo) church. In May, 
1796, he was chosen moderator of Tates Creek Association, and 
between this time and 18 14, filled that position ten years. 
About 1 8 16, he moved to the Green river country, and united 
with Mount Zion church, in Warren county. The next year, 
he was chosen moderator of Gasper River Association, and con- 
tinued to occupy that position, till 1820, when he, with his 
church, entered into the constitution of Drakes Creek Associa- 
tion. He was moderator of the latter fraternity five years. The 
time and circumstances of his death are not known, but he was 
probably called to his reward, about 1826. 

Of the seven churches constituted in Kentucky, in 1797, at 
least six are still in existence, and some of them are leading 
members in their associations. Their builders have all long 
since gone to their reward ; but, after 88 years have passed 
away, their noble work still remains. How many hundreds 
have borne tidings from these old churches, to Talbot, Morris, 
Kellar, Payne, Dupuy and Harris, in their home above 1 




The year 1798 was an exceedingly unpropitious time for 
the propagation of rehgious teaching, or the exercising of re- 
hgious influence, among the people of Kentucky. Perhaps poli- 
tical excitement never run higher than during that year. There 
were three principal causes, which produced this almost wild 
agitation in the popular mind. 

First : The people had become disgusted with their State 
C9nstitution, and desired a new one. The proposition to call a 
convention, for the purpose of forming a new constitution, 
had been submitted to the legislature, and had passed the 
lower house, but w^as defeated in the senate. This enraged 
the people the more, because the senate, under the constitution, 
then in force, was not elected by the people, but by a college 
of electors. The excitement on this subject continued to in-' 
crease, until the fall election decided in favor of the convention. 

But discussion of the subject of forming a new constitution, 
and the emphatic decision of the people in its favor, brought 
the subject of emancipation before the people again. The ques- 
tion, as to whether the new constitution should require, and 
provide for, the gradual emancipation of slaves, in the com- 
monwealth, was propounded and warmly discussed. The bril- 
liant and influential Henry Clay boldly advocated the affirma- 
tive. Much of the perishable property of the people of the 
state consisted in slaves, and the owners were necessarily rest- 
less and agitated, until the question was finally settled, by the 
adoption of the new constitution. 

But a third, and apparently more powerful cause of agita- 
tion, was the recent passage of two laws, by congress, known 
as the Alien and Sedition Laws. The cause of the passage of 


Great Political Agitation. 367 

these laws, and their purport, may be briefly stated. The west- 
ern people were enthusiastic admirers of France, on account of 
her people having aided the American colonies in their struggle 
for Independence, and were as strongly embittered against the 
Administration of the United States Government. Meanwhile, 
there were grave misunderstandings between the governments 
of France and the United States, and war between the two 
powers seemed imminent. Under these circumstances, French 
agents were sent to Kentucky to kindle the enthusiasm of the 
people in favor of " the French Republic," and fan the flame of 
their hatred against Mr. Adams' Administration. The temper 
3f the Kentuckians was such that state laws could not be en- 
forced against the French agents. Under these circumstances, 
::ongress passed one law by which aliens should be arrest- 
sd and placed .under the control of the President of the 
United States, and another, to use the powers of the General 
Government to punish and suppress slanders against the mem- 
bers of congress and the Adminstration. These laws were re- 
garded as alarming encroachments on the rights of the states. 
When the Kentucky legislature convened, it passed the famous 
" Resolutions of 1798." These resolutions, drawn up by Thomas 
Jefferson of Virginia, were offered by John Breckenridge and 
seconded by Colonel Robert Johnson. They passed the lower 
house unaminously, and had but one vote against them in the 
senate. The resolutions set forth the Democratic, orjefferson- 
ian theory of government, and virtually declared the Alien and 
Sedition Laws void. 

While the people were so wildly excited on the subject of 
politics, the revival w^ave that had given such cheering hope to 
the friends of Zion the preceding year, had passed away, and 
the churches again settled down into their former apathy. The 
revival, however, seems to have had a more lasting effect on 
those preachers and churches more remote from political cen- 
ters. There was much religious activity on the frontiers, and an 
unusually large number of churches were constituted during the 

Lees Creek church, printed ''Lewis Creek'' and ''Louis 
Creek,'' in Manly's Annals of Elkhorn Association, was a small 
body, located a few miles from Washington, in Mason county. 
It was admitted a member of Elkhorn Association in 1798. It 

368 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

then numbered sixteen members. The next year, it entered 
into the constitution of Bracken Association. In 1809, 't em- 
braced a membership of thirty-six, and had Charles Anderson 
for its preacher. In 18 15 WilhamVaughan took the pastoral care 
of it, and preached for it a number of years. On Mr. Vaughan's 
resignation, in 1827, Blackstone L. Abernathy was called to suc- 
ceed him. He adopted the views of A. Campbell, and carried 
most of the church with him. It is probable that the remnant 
of Lees Creek soon afterward dissolved. 

Flower Creek church was located in Pendleton county. 
It united with Elkhorn Association, in 1798. It then numbered 
fifteen members. In 1802, it had increased to thirty-one mem- 
bers. The following year it went into the constitution of North 
Bend Association. It remained in this fraternity till 1827, when 
it went into the constitution of Campbell Counrty Association. 
It was dissolved in 1833. 

Mt. Sterling church was located in the county seat of 
Montgomery. It was constituted in 1798, and the same year, 
united with Elkhorn Association, to which it reported a mem- 
bership of thirty-nine. That great and good man, David Bar- 
row, came to Kentucky, in June, 1798, and took charge of this 
church the same year. Under his ministry it had a steady 
growth, for several years. In 1 804 it took a letter from Elkhorn 
and joined North District Association. But the next year, it 
withdrew from that body, and joined a fraternity of emancipa- 
tionists. In this connection it continued till the death of Mr. 
Barrows, November 14, 18 19, when the emancipation society 
fell to pieces. In 1823, the church returned to North District 
Association, and called John Smith to its pastoral care. Mr. 
Smith soon became a convert to Campbellism, and carried the 
church with him into the Campbellite schism. 

The present Baptist church in Mt. Sterling was gathered 
by J. Pike Powers in 1870, and in 1878 numbered eighty-seven 

Ridge church was a small body, located within the original 
bounds of Long Run Association. It united with Salem Asso- 
ciation, in 1798. In 1803, it Went into the constitution of Long 
Run Association. It was probably dissolved soon after this. It 
numbered only five members in 1803. 

Salt River church is located on the north side of the 

Salt River Clmrch. 369 

stream from which it derives its name, in Anderson county. It 
was gathered by that famous "father of Salem iVssociation, " 
WilHam Taylor, and John Penny, and was constituted by the 
former, February 3, 1798. The following persons were in the 
constitution: John Penny, Rawleigh Stott, Ann Tracy, Lucy 
Stott, Albert Plough, Benjamin Ellison and Stott's Nancy. The 
Philadelphia confession of faith was adopted with the exceptions 
made to it by Elkhorn Association. It was resolved that be- 
lieving in "redemption from hell," members permitting their 
children to attend dancing schools, and joining the Free Masons, 
were sufficient grounds of exclusion. At the April meeting, 
following, John Penny was chosen pastor, and continued to serve 
the church in that capacity until he was removed by death, in 
1833. This church first joined Salem Association, the same 
year it was constituted, and, in 1803, went into the constitution 
of Long Run Association, with a membership of 138. The 
year after the church was constituted, it excluded a brother and 
sister for "taking up the occupation of tavern keeper." This 
is probably the first case of exclusion from a Baptist church in 
Kentucky, for keeping a grog-shop. Had all the churches, 
of that, and subsequent periods, followed the example, it would 
have saved the cause of Christ from much shame and confusion, 
society from much poverty, degradation and suffering, and the 
State from large expenditures of treasure. In 1801, ninety-five 
were added to the church, mostly by baptism. 

In December, 181 1, twenty-nine members were dismissed 
to form Goshen church, which was constituted January 4, 

In 181 5, the church was dismissed from Long Run, and 
entered into the constitution of Franklin Association. At this 
time, it numbered 115 members. In September, 1818, twelve 
members were dismissed to go into the constitution of Fox 
Creek church. In 1826, the church entered into the constitu- 
tion of Baptist Association. In 1828, a refreshing from the 
Lord added to the church fifty-eight by baptism. The next 
year, she sent out a colony of nine members, to form Little 
Flock church. 

On the death of John Penny, in 1833, the church called to 
ordination Jordan PI. Walker, and invited him to take the pas- 
toral care of her. He accepted the call. This was, unfortunate 

370 History of Ke?itucky Baptists. 

for the church. Mr. Walker was a speculator in "eternal de- 
crees, " and soon led the church into the same misty labyrinths. 
Opposition to missions was a natural consequence. In April, 
1838, the church appointed a committee of six brethren, of 
which Jordan H. Walker was one, "to draft resolutions againt 
benevolent societies, falsely so-called, etc." The committee re- 
ported at the next meeting, and their report, condeming theolog- 
ical schools and benevolent societies was adopted. The follow- 
ing year the church sent messengers to Baptist Association, of 
which she was a member, requesting that body to dissolve, and, 
in case it did not dissolve, to grant her a letter of dis- 
mission. The Association refused to do either. The letter of 
dismission was withheld because the church failed to put the re- 
quest for it in her letter. Feeling aggreived at the Association 
she resolved to withdraw from that body. In 1840 she was ad- 
mitted into Licking Association of Particular Baptists. At this 
time she numbered about ninety-six members. From this pe- 
riod, like all the churches in Licking Association, she began to 
wither. In 1876, Salt River church numbered only forty-eight 
members, but was the largest in Licking Association. 

John Penny, one of the founders, and the first pastor of 
Old Salt River church, was among the most active and useful of 
the pioneer preachers. He was not only very diligent in spread- 
ing the gospel over a large area of country, but he was a man 
of excellent ability and practical wisdom. That he was ten years 
moderator of Long Run Association, while John Taylor, Wil- 
liam Kellar and George Waller were members of that body, 
shows in what estimation he was held among his brethren. 

Mr. Penny was born in Hanover county, Va., about 1764, 
where he received a fair English education, for the times. He 
was converted under the preaching of Reuben Ford and Wil- 
liam Webber, and was baptized into the fellowship of Chicka- 
hominy church, in his native county, with about 60 others, in 
1785. The first pastor of this old church was John Clay, the 
father of the distinguished orator and statesman, Henry Clay of 
Kentucky. He died young, about 1780. The church was then 
supplied by the joint labors of Ford and Webber. Under their 
ministry, Mr. Penny was brought into the ministry. 

Soon after his marriage to "Frances White, he moved to 
Kentucky, and settled on Salt river, in what is now Anderson 

John Penny. 371 

county, about the year 1790. There was, at that time, no 
church within many miles of him. He at once commenced cul- 
tivating the large, thinly peopled field around him, for his Mas- 
ter. Many Christians were comforted, many sinners were led 
to Christ, and a number of churches rose up under the 
ministry of this active and zealous young man. 

About 1795, John Tanner, a man of good preaching tal- 
ent, but of a restless, aspiring temper, succeeded in persuading 
James Rucker, a good pious old preacher, whose daughter he 
had married, that the Baptists in Kentucky had become very 
corrupt. He and Rucker, therefore, determined to form "a 
new, pure and separate church." They induced a few members 
of Old Clear Creek church in Woodford county, of which the}' 
were members at the time, to join with them. They also pre- 
vailed on John Penny to join with them, in the new organization. 
They constituted a church on Salt river, not far from Mr. Pen- 
ny's residence, under the appellation of the "Reformed Bap- 
tist church." It held no correspondence with other Baptist 
churches, and received members only by " experience and good 
character." Mr. Penny was induced to take the pastoral care 
of this immaculate church. This was probably his first pastor- 
ate. It was not long before the church was rent with internal 
dissensions, and was dissolved, in 1798. During the same year, 
Salt River church was constituted, and Mr. Penny was imme- 
diately chosen its pastor. In this position he served with much 
satisfaction to the church, and with excellent success, about 35 

In 1799, he took charge of a little church called Mill Creek, 
five miles east of the present site of Bardstown. He found that 
John Bailey's "hell redemption" theory had been adopted by 
one or more of its members, and openly refused to commune 
with the church. This brought about a proper discipline, and 
the church has since occupied a respectable position, in the de- 
nomination. In 1802, Mr. Penny was instrumental in gather- 
ing Goshen church, in Anderson county. Of this church, he 
was chosen pastor, and served it till his son William was or- 
dained to the ministry. In 1801, he aided William Hickman, 
Senr., and Warren Cash in raising up South Benson church, in 
Franklin county. This church raised up a pastor, William 
Hickman, Junr., who preached to it more than forty years. Be- 

372 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

sides those already named, Mr. Penny aided in gathering a 
number of other churches, to which he ministered till they 
could be supplied. As he advanced in years, and churches and 
preachers greatly increased in numbers, he narrowed the field 
of his labors. At his death, he was preaching to Salt River, 
Little Flock, and Fox Creek churches, all in Anderson county. 

The last sermon he preached was at Salt River, in the 
Spring of 1833. When he closed his discourse, he addressed 
an exhortation to the people, to whom he had preached now 
about 35 years, after this manner: " My dear brethren and sis- 
ters, the dreadful scourge of cholera is now raging in the land, 
sweeping away its thousands to their long home. Before another 
church meeting shall come around, many of us may be in the 
great Eternity. Perhaps this is the last time you will ever hear 
my voice on Earth." Then stretching forth his hand to the un- 
converted, he said, with great tenderness : ' ' How oft would I 
have gathered you, even as a hen gathereth her chickens 
under her wings, but ye would not." Coming down on the 
floor, he invited all who desired to be prayed for to come for- 
ward. Quite a number came, and he knelt and prayed with 
them for the last time. 

A few days after this he was attacked by cholera, with 
great violence, and it became apparent that his time was short. 
He bore his sufferings with calmess and patience, talking to 
those around him, of the glorious land and the heavenly Jeru- 
salem that he was about to enter. A few moments before he 
breathed his last, he looked around on his friends, and said: "I 
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 
the faith : henceforth there is a crown of righteousness laid up 
for me, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge himself, shall give 
tome." A few moments more, and his spirit was with that 
Savior whom he had so faithfully preached. This was on the 
iSth of June, 1833. 

In doctrine, Mr. Penny held the views of Andrew Fuller. 
His manner of speaking was clear, brief and pointed, and thor- 
oughly Biblical. It i> said that he seldom preached longer than 
thirty-five minutes. He exhorted sinners to repent, and invited 
them forward for prayer. 

His grand-daughter thus describes his personal appearance: 
" He was small in statue, fair complexion, had keen blue eyes 

William White Penuy. 373 

and a Roman nose. He was very straight in his carriage, and 
rather prided himself on being old-fashioned. He always dressed 
in snuff colored cloth. His coat was rather of a military cut, 
with straight breast and collar, and ornamented with plain silver 
buttons, each of which bore his initials. He was a neat, plain 
looking, plain spoken old gentleman." He raised seven sons 
and two daughters, all of whom became Baptists. Two of his 
sons, William and Eli, became preachers. Eli embraced the 
Two-seeds theory, and was preaching in Missouri as late as 

William White Penny, son of Elder John Penny, was 
born in Anderson county, Kentucky, July 12, 1790. He was 
baptized by his father into the fellowship of Salt River church, 
in his 20 year. He studied medicine under an " Indian doctor" 
of the name of Richard Carter, of Shelbyville, and acquired a 
considerable reputation as a " Root and herb doctor." While 
under Carter's t'catment for scrofula, and, at the same time, un- 
der his tuition, Mr. Penny wrote the Auto-biography and medi- 
cal practice of this local celebrity, in prose and verse, which the 
unlettered doctor fathered and sent forth to the world, in an oc- 
tavo volume of 500 pages. The book has very little merit of 
any kind, except as a curiosity in the world of letters 

Mr. Penny was ordained to the ministry, at Goshen church 
in Anderson county, by William Hickman, Sr. , William Hick- 
man, Jun., and John Penny, and became pastor of that church, 
in 1822. This position he filled till his death. He also had the care 
of Unity and Shawnee Run churches, in Mercer county, a short 
time, but gave up his charge of them, on account of his medical 
practice. Mr. Penny's principal gift was that of exhortation. He 
was tender and affectionate in his address, and usually wept 
freely while exhorting sinners to repent. He was a man of 
great benevolence, and was much loved and honored by the 
poor around him, to whom his hand was always open. He 
often held meetings at his own house, and a considerable num- 
ber of people was converted, under his ministry. He died of 
cholera, in great triumph, in 1833. 

Edmund Waller began his ministry at Salt River church. 
He was born in Spottsylvania county, Va., January i, 1775, 
and was the son of William E. Waller, a pioneer preacher who 
moved, probably with Lewis Craig's traveling church, to what 

374 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

is now Garrard county, Ky., in the fall of 178 1. After remain- 
ing here about five years, he moved to Fayette county, and 
settled near Bryants Station. Here his son Edmund was reared 
to manhood, with a very scant education. He learned the 
trade of a house carpenter, and, when he arrived at the age of 
manhood, entered upon the labors of his calling, with energy 
and industry. He was married early to Ann Durrett, who 
lived but a few months after her marriage. He afterwards mar- 
ried Betsy Lightfoot, about the year iSoo. 

Tradition has it, that Edmund Waller sought and obtained 
hope in Christ, at about the age of 13 years. But on account 
of the popular prejudice against children's joining the church, 
he did not make a public profession of religion, until the third 
Saturday in March, 1798, when he was baptized into the fel- 
lowship of Bryants church in Fayette county, by Ambrose 
Dudley. In October, 1800, he was excluded from the 
fellowship of the church, for attending a dancing school. 
In the following March, he was restored to the fellowship of 
the church, and granted a letter of dismission. Meanwhile, he 
had moved within the present limits of Anderson county. 
Here he and his wife, Betsy, united with Salt River church, 
then under the pastoral care of John Penny, in April, 1801. 
This was in the midst of the great revival. Mr. Waller's zeal 
in prayer and exhortation induced the church to grant him 
liberty to exercise his gift, in April, 1802. In consequence of 
some misunderstanding between him and his pastor, the church 
ordered that he should be publicly rebuked, " which was done 
by Bro. Hickman," in February, 1804. This difficulty was 
probably the cause of delaying his ordination. In January, 
1805, a small church of 27 members, located somewhere near 
the southern line of Shelby county, and known as Bluestone 
petitioned Salt River church to grant Mr. Waller a letter of 
dismission, to join it. The request was granted, and Mr. Wal- 
ler united with that body. The design, no doubt, was to have 
him ordained, and to secure his services as pastor. Bluestone, 
church was admitted into Long Run Association, in 1804, and 
probably maintained an existence, only about five years. Mr. 
Waller was a member, and, no doubt, the pastor of this church, 
from 1805, till 1808. During the latter date, he was called to 
Hillsboro' church in Woodford county. He at once moved to 

Edmund Waller. 375 

the territory of this fraternity, and entered on his pastoral la- 
bors. Two years after this, he moved to Jessamine county and 
took the care of Mt. Pleasant church, still retaining the care of 
Hillsboro.' Besides these, he was, during his ministry, pastor 
of several other churches, at different periods. Among these 
were Shawnee Run, Danville, Clover Bottom, Nicholasville, 
and Glens Creek. To the last named and Mt. Pleasant, he de- 
voted the pastoral labors of his latter years. He died at his 
home in Jessamine county, in the Autumn of 1842. 

Edmund Waller was reckoned among the able ministers of 
his day. He probably had no superior, as a pastor, in the 
state. His success in bringing sinners to Christ was extraor- 
dinary. He is supposed to have baptized about 1,500 persons. 
He was a diligent reader, and a close student of the Bible. 
He opposed the methods of current missionary operations, in 
the earlier years of his ministry, but became warmly in favor 
of missions and higher education, especially for ministers of the 
gospel, in later years. Two of his sons, the distinguished John 
L. Waller, and the brilliant young N. B. Waller, occupied the 
Baptist pulpit, 

Jordan H. Walker was baptized into the fellowship of 
Salt River chuch, in 18 10. He was a prominent and active 
member of the church, especially in its business affairs, till 1838, 
when, on the death of John Penny, he was ordained to the min- 
istry, and called to the pastoral care of the church. He was a 
man of fair ability, but does not appear to have been profitable 
in the ministry. He was strongly opposed to missions, and soon 
led his charge into an anti-missionary association. He was prob- 
ably pastor of some other anti-missionary churches. He was 
highly esteemed by his brethren in Licking Association. He 
died at his home in [or near] Lawrenceburg, December 25, 

Mr. Walker was a man of eminent respectability, and puri- 
ty of character. He was, it is believed, a number of years 
clerk of one of the courts at Lawrenceburg, and was a valuable 
and respected citizen. 

Mt. Salem church was originally called Hurricane. It is 
located in the southern part of Lincoln county. It was consti- 
tuted a United Baptist church, of nine members by Joel Noel 
and John Mason, September 15, 1798. Some of its early mem- 

376 History of Kentucky Baptists., 

bers were Evan Jones, Samuel Jones, Joseph Baker and Warren 

Joel Noel was probably the first pastor of this church, the 
growth of which was, for many years, very slow. It united 
with Tates Creek Association, to which it reported in, 1800, 
fourteen members. The great revival, the year following, 
brought its membership up to thirty-four. In 18 10, it united 
with Cumberland River Association, which had been constitu- 
ted the year before, to which it reported, in 18 12, forty-seven 
members. It remained in this Association till about 1843, when 
South Kentucky Association of United Baptists was formed, 
and it became a member of that body. At this period it num- 
bered 136 members, Moses Foley was many years the beloved 
pastor of this church. The church continued a course of great 
prosperity from 1843, till 1875. At the latter date, it num- 
bered 231 members. But soon after this it became much dis- 
tracted by internal discord, and, in 1879, was reduced to sixty- 
nine members. Since that time, it is said, better prospects have 
opened up before it, and it is hoped that it will soon return to its 
ancient prosperity. This body has on its record, a resolution 
worthy of notice. It reads as follows: 

''Resolved, That we believe it to be wrong for a brother to 
engage in preaching, or having public religious gatherings, un- 
less the church be satisfied that he can do no more good than 
harm.'' The church is now located at McKinney, and J. M. 
Coleman is its pastor. 

Stephen Collier, one of the early pastors of Mt. Salem 
church, was born in East Tennessee, in 1772. He united with 
a church in his native country, 1802, and was shortly afterward 
put into the ministry. He moved to Kentucky an ordained 
preacher, not far from the year 18 10, and settled in Rockcastle 
county. He united with Flat Lick church, in Pulaski county. 
Of this church, Mt. Salem and others, he became pastor. He 
labored in the ministry, in this field, about thirty-three years, 
with much approbation and success. He died of a cancer on his 
lip, which confined him to his house, about a year. May 12, 1844. 

Of this good man, John S. Higgins, who was long his co- 
laborer in the ministry, writes: "Stephen Collier was a large 
portly man of good common sense, strong voice, and a good 
gift of exhortation. With a burning zeal, he proclaimed the 

Henry F. Biicknef. ^jy 

gospel of God with great success in his own, and several of the 
surrounding counties. He was poor in the things of this world, 
but rich in faith, warning men and women everywhere he went, 
to repent and believe the gospel." 

Henry F. Buckner, son of Daniel Buckner, succeeded 
his father in the pastoral care oi Mt. Salem church, in July, 
I847. ^s ^^'^^ born in Cooke county, Tenn., December 18, 
18 1 8. He exhibited, in early childhood, a great love of books, 
and through the willing sacrifices of his parents, acquired an ac- 
ademic education, in his native state, after which he finished his 
education at the State University of Alabama. In 1832 he pro- 
fessed religion and was baptized by his father into the fellowship 
of Madisonville church, Monroe county, Tennessee. He was 
ordained to the ministry, in Alabama, in 1840. In 1842 he 
married in Pulaski county, Kentucky, and w'as afterward em- 
ployed by the General Association of Kentucky Baptists as 
missionary among the mountains of that State. He labored in 
this capacity about three years, when about 1847, he settled on 
a small farm in Pulaski county. On July 3, of that year, he 
was called to the care of Mt. Salem church, and, perhaps some 
others. In 1849, he went as a missionary to the Creek Indians, 
and, with but two short interruptions, labored with the red 
men of the forest more than forty years. He was a strong, 
active man, and seemed to enjoy almost perfect health, till 
the fall of 1882, when he died of pneumonia. 

Mill Creek church is located on a small stream from which 
it derived its name, one and one-half miles south of Tompkins- 
ville, in Monroe county. It is, by several years, the oldest 
church on the southern border of Kentucky, east of Big Bar- 
ren river. The first settlers of that region seem to have been 
North Carolinians, but emigrated directly from the Holston 
Valley in East Tennessee. The church appears to have been 
gathered by John Mulky, sometime during the year 1798. The 
earliest record now existing, states that on the nth of Septem- 
ber of that year, John Mulky and John Wood were chosen to 
the (Mero District) Association, on Cumberland river. In Oc- 
tober, the minutes of the association were read, and Philip 
Mulky was appointed a deacon. In the following April, the 
church decides that it is wrong to hunt horses or cattle on Sun- 
day. John Mulky was granted a certificate that he might ob- 

3/8 Histor)' of Kentucky Baptists. 

tain license to celebrate the rites of marriage. In 1800, Ben 
Gist was elected to an eldership. The church calls helps to in- 
stall its minister, and in September, appoints John Mulky, Ben. 
Gist, John Wood and Thomas Sullivan to an association on Lit- 
tle Barren. At this time the church entered into the constitu- 
tion of Green River Association. 

In 1802, Mill Creek church reported to Green River Asso- 
ciation, forty-two baptisms, and a total membership of 120. In 
1805, it entered into the constitution of Stockton Valley Asso- 
ciation, For a number of years, this church ^yas very large and 
prosperous. But John Mulky led off a large faction of the body 
to the Arians, orStoneites. After a while another faction went 
off with the Campbellites, and, finally the remnant of the church 
split on the subject of missions. Now (1885) the old church, 
which is the mother of many daughters, some of whom are illi- 
gitimate, is feeble and ready to die, scowling at missions, 
theological schools, benevolent societies, and "money-hunters." 

John Mulky was the first preacher of which there is any 
tradition, that labored in southeastern Kentucky. Reappears 
to have been very active and successful. Besides preaching in 
the territory of Mill Creek, which was very extensive at first, 
he extended his labors beyond Green River, into the interior of 
the State. For a time he preached monthly "on Pittman," in 
Green county, and in Russells settlement in Adair. He was 
regarded as a preacher of good ability. But he was unstable 
and "carried about by every wind of doctrine." First falling 
into Arianism, and then into Campbellism, as tradition has it, 
he probably did the cause of Christ more harm than good. He, 
however, maintained, as far as known, an unblemished moral 

Philip Mulky was raised up to the ministry in this church 
during the great revival, at the beginning of the century. It is 
believed that the now venerable John Newton Mulky* of Glas- 
gow, Kentucky, who is highly esteemed as a preacher, among 
the Campbellites, is a son of Philip Mulky. 

William Chism, a good man of small gifts, lived in Mon- 
roe county, and was a number of years the preacher in old 
Mill Creek church. John Garrot* is its present pastor. 

'Has recently died. 

Dripping Spring CJintch 379 

Dripping Spring church was, at first, called "the Shiks of 
Beaver Creek." It is distinguished for its having been "the 
church home" of Robert Stockton and the Warders. It is lo- 
cated within the present limits of Metcalf county, and was con- 
stituted, in 1798. By whom it was gathered is uncertain, but 
most probably by Alexander Davidson. It had built an edifice, 
known as Beaver Creek M. H. previous to June, 1799. It uni- 
ted with eight other churches in the constitution of Green 
River Association, at Mt. Tabor, in Barren county, the third 
Saturday in June, 1800. In the fall of 1802, it reported to that 
body, a membership of 133. Previous to this time, it held in 
its membership three preachers — Robert Stockton, Alexander 
McDougal and Robert Smith. The last two soon afterwards 
went to other churches, and the first became pastor of the 
church. The church dismissed members to form new churches 
around it till, in 18 12, it numbered only 81. After this, it was 
prosperous until 1830, when it entered into the constitution of 
Barren River Association. Soon after this, the churches of this 
body began to be greatly agitated on the subject of missions. 
Campbellism also carried off many of their members. In 1836, 
Dripping Spring, with five other churches, withdrew from Bar- 
ren River Association, on account of that fraternity's favoring 
missionary operations, and entered into the constitution of a 
small fraternity of anti-missionary churches, since known as 
"Original Barren River Association." At this time. Dripping 
Spring church reported 13 members. In 1859, ^^ ^'^'^ increased 
to 108 members. It has considerably diminished since that 
time, but is still a respectable church in its Association. Eph- 
riant Butram, a respectable preacher, is its present pastor. 

Robert Stockton and Alexander McDougal were both dis- 
tinguished preachers in their day. They were co-laborers, for a 
short time, in Dripping Spring church, but which of them was 
its first pastor, or whether either of them was regarded as pas- 
tor of the church, during their joint labors there does not ap- 
pear. But Mr. Stockton was pastor of the church for many 
years afterwards. He was one of the most laborious and suc- 
cessful ministers among the Baptists of Virginia, and is said to 
have been thrust into jail at one time, "for preaching the gos- 
pel contrary to law." 

Robert Stockton was born of Presbyterian parents, in 

380 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Albemarl county, Va., Dec. 12, 1743. He received a moder- 
ate English education, and was brought up to the trade of a 
hatter, by which he acquired a good estate. 

Very early in life, his mind became impressed upon the 
subject of religion, and he united with the Presbyterian church. 
When he was of sufficient age, he entered the army as a cap- 
tain in the service of the King of England. While performing 
duty in this capacity, he became much troubled about the sal- 
vation of his soul. He engaged much in secret prayer and 
meditation, till he experienced a very joyful change in his feel- 
ings. Never having been taught the nature of experimental 
religion, he knew not what so peaceful and happy a state of 
mind and heart meant. Not long afterwards, he heard a Mr. 
Davis preach on the subject of experimental religion, and 
immediately recognized the exercises of his own heart to be 
the work of divine grace. An investigation of the scriptures 
convinced him of the duty of believers' baptism. He therefore 
submitted to that ordinance, at the hands of Samuel Harris, in 
177 1, and united with a Baptist church in Henry county. 

Immediately after his baptism, he rejoined his company, 
called them into line, and spoke to them to the following pur- 
port : " Gentlemen, I have found another King, and have en- 
listed in His service. I am now going to leave you. But, be- 
fore we part, allow me to read from the order of my Command- 
er." He then read a chapter from the Bible, and called on 
them to join with him in prayer. This done, he resigned his 
captaincy, and entered actively into the service of his new 

Few men in Virginia were ever more active and zealous in 
preachin^g the gospel, or more successful in winning souls to 
Christ, than Robert Stockton. He was among the most active 
ministers in building up the churches of Strawberry Associa- 
tion. In a letter to Robert B. Semple, he stated that he kad 
been present at the constitution of eleven churches, within the 
bounds of that organization. J. B, Taylor says that these 
churches were built up mainly by Mr. Stockton's labors. He 
was pastor of two churches — Snow Creek in Franklin county 
and Leatherwood in Henry. He was instrumental in gather- 
ing both of these churches. He was many years Moderator 
of Strawberry Association. 

Robert Stockton, 381 

During the Revolutionary War, and just before the battle 
of Brandywine, Mr. Stockton, like David, visited the army to 
see how his brethren did, and to administer to their wants. 
During the battle, he fell into the hands of the British, and was 
kept a prisoner two years. When he was permitted to return 
home, he found that his faithful wife had not only supported 
her family, but had paid off all his debts. The maiden name 
of this excellent woman was Katherine Blakey. On the re- 
fusal of her parents to consent to her marrying young Stockton, 
the youthful lovers eloped to North Carolina, and were mar- 
ried, when she was only fourteen years of age. 

On his return from his long imprisonment, Mr. Stockton 
continued to labor in the same field, with his wonted zeal and 
success, till near the close of the Century, when he began to 
think of moving to a new country. R. B. Semple says of him, 
at this period : "Although his usefulness was so obvious in 
this country, and although he was among the richest men in 
those parts, his mind was not at rest. From some cause, not 
known to the compiler, he moved to Kentucky and settled 
within the limits of Green River Association." This removal 
occurred in 1799. Mr. Stockton settled in what is now Met- 
calf county. Here he united with Dripping Spring church, 
which had been constituted the year before. In June of the 
following year, messengers from nine churches assembled at 
Mt. Tabor church in Barren county, for the purpose of organ- 
izing an association. Mr. Stockton was chosen Moderator, and 
Green River Association was constituted. 

Mr. Stockton was called to the care of Dripping Spring 
church, which was prosperous under his charge as long as he 
was able to preach. He was also Moderator of Green River 
Association, till he became too old and feeble to fill the posi- 
tion. His arrival in Kentucky, just at the commencement of 
the great revival, was very propitious. In this great work, he 
bore an active part. Many valuable young preachers were 
raised up, and the churches became numerous and strong. A 
few years more of faithful labor, and the aged servant's work 
was done. He died in great peace, in the fall of 1825. The 
character of his labor is well portrayed by Robert B. Semple, 
in the following language : 

" Mr. Stockton had always an inclination to travel, and 

382 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

perhaps no man ever traveled to greater advantage. For, poss- 
essing an invincible boldness, it Avas quite unimportant to him 
what kind of a house he went to, whether saint or sinner, 
friend or opposer. He never failed, wherever he went, to enter 
largely into religious conversation ; and having great command 
of his temper, and great presence of mind, he often made re- 
ligious impressions upon minds previously swallowed up by 
prejudice. It was also an invariable rule with him to propose, 
and, if permitted, to perform family worship. In doing this, 
he would often exhort the family a half hour or more. It is 
very entertaining to hear Mr. Stockton relate the various adven- 
tures of his life, respecting the things of this sort." 

" His talents as a preacher, are hardly up to mediocrity; 
and no man thinks less of them than himself: but his talent for 
exhortation is very considerable. The way that he has done 
so much good has not been through his great or numerous tal- 
ents, but by occupying such as he had in an industrious man- 
ner. " 

Robert Smith was discharging the functions of a gospel 
minister in this church, as early as 1800, arid may have been in 
its constitution. He had been excluded from some church, 
but what church, and for what purpose is unknown. He had 
been very active in preaching, in various parts of the state, and 
had brought some reproach on the Baptists. "When I first 
landed at Maysville, Kentucky," said the venerable and distin- 
guished John Bryce, " I went to a prominent merchant in the 
place, and asked him if he could tell me where any Baptists 
were, telling him I was a Baptist preacher. He replied snee.r- 
ingly: ' sq was Robert Smith.' I immediately returned to the 
hotel, without asking him further questions." Smith became 
so notorious that Elkhorn Association cautions the churches 
against him in her minutes of 1797. Notwithstanding this, he 
worked his way into Dripping Spring church, which was far 
out on the frontier, at that time.' In 1801, he went into the 
constitution of a church on Mud Camp.* This church sent for 
helps to restore him to the ministry, but what came of it is not 
known. He was afterwards an active preacher in Livingston 

Alexander McDougal was a member of Dripping Spring 

■■•■Now called Blue Spring. 

Alexander McDougal. 383 

church, as early as March, 1802, at which time he was sent by 
that church to aid in the ordination of Jacob Lock, at Mt. Ta- 
bor in Barren county. How long he had been a member of 
that church docs not appear. He may have been in its consti- 
tution, and the church may have been gathered by his labors. 
However this may be, it is known that he was active in gath- 
ering the early churches in the middle portion of the state. It 
may be said to the honor of Ireland, that quite a large number 
of the most zealous and useful preachers that sowed the gospel 
seed on the virgin soil of Kentucky, were either born in that 
island, or were descendants of Irish emigrants. 

Alexander McDougal was born in Dublin, Ireland, in the 
year 1739. In his twenty-first year, he emigrated to North 
America, and settled lYl Wilmington, North Carolina. Here he 
was married to Hannah Done, and soon afterwards moved to 
Union District, South Carolina. He and his wife were both 
rigid Presbyterians, and evinced their attachment to their church 
by having their first children '* christened " under its authority. 

About the year 1770, he became convinced that he was 
still in his sins. His convictions were very pungent, and led 
him speedily to the cross of Christ. Here he found the Sa- 
vior very precious to his soul. He united with the Baptist 
church on Lower Tiger river. He was zealous in the cause 
of Christ, and soon began to exhort his neighbors to flee from 
the wrath of God to the Savior of sinners. Having an ardent 
nature, and enjoying much of the love of God in his own soul, 
he had a great desire for the salvation of others. At what 
time he was licensed to preach does not appear ; but it is sup- 
posed about the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Being 
a warm supporter of the cause of Liberty, his early labors in 
the ministry involved him in many dangers from the fury of the 
tories that infested almost every portion of his adopted state. 
During the war, he divided his time between cultivating his 
farm, exhorting sinners to repent, and fighting the tories. 
He continued to exercise his gift until 1791, when he was or- 
dained to the full work of the ministry. About the close of 
the century, he moved to Kentucky, and settled in Barren 
county. Here he became a member of Dripping Spring church. 
After remaining here a short time, he removed to what is now 
LaRue county, and settled on Nolin river. 

384 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Nolin church, in LaRue county, was constituted by Rob- 
ert Stockton, John Murphy, and Jonathan Paddox; April 3, 
1803. Mr. McDougal was called to the care of this church im- 
mediately after its constitution. About the same time, he be- 
came pastor of Severns Valley church. To these churches he 
gave the benefit of his ripe exparience and extensive knowledge. 

God sent this faithful old servant to the territory of Salem 
Association just at a time when he was greatly needed. A 
great revival, of three years' continuance, had more than quad- 
rupled the membership of the churches composing this frater- 
nity. A number of new churches had been built up. The 
old preachers had passed away, or grown too feeble to labor, 
and few young ones had been raised up. A number of young 
men had joined the churches, who afterwards became eminent 
preachers. Here, then, was a great work for a faithful and 
experienced minister ; nor did Mr. McDougal falter under the 
responsibility. Unambitious, and without ostentation, he en- 
tered upon his Avork in the new field. Here he labored faith- 
fully and earnestly more than thirty years. Young preachers 
were raised up to occupy the field, very many sinners had been 
brought to Christ, and the old servant's work on earth was 
done. At ninety-five years of age, he resigned his charges; 
and on the 3rd of March 1 84 1, aged 103 years, he left his home in 
LaRue county, and went to join the loved ones in the New Jeru- 
salem. His oldest son and A. W. LaRue, a grand-son, became 
Baptist preachers. The latter was widely known in Kentucky. 

Mt. Tabor church is located on Beaver Creek, some two 
miles west of Glasgow in Barren county. It was gathered by 
Alexander Davidson, and was constituted of seven members, 
by the assistance of the famous old pioneer, William Hickman, 
and Carter Tarrant, November 5, 1798. Alexander Davidson 
was chosen pastor, John Murphy was elected clerk, and John 
Baugh was appointed to hold meetings, in the absence of the 
pastor. Several churches having been formed in the Green 
River country, the first conference, looking to the formation of 
an association was held at Sinking Creek, in June 1799. ^^^ 
meeting agreed on the propriety of an association, and ap- 
pointed a second meeting to be held at Beaver Creek M. H. 
(Dripping Spring church) in October. This conference was 
" put off till the third Saturday in June," 1800, at which time 

Mount Tabor Church. 385 

it was held at Mount Tabor church. At this time Green River 
Association was formed, of nine churches. These churches con- 
tained an aggregate membership of about 350, with eight or- 
dained ministers. Mt. Tabor, Mill Creek, Concord, Brush 
Creek, Sinks of Beaver Creek (now Dripping Spring), Sinking 
Creek, Church on Pittman (now Good Hope?), South Fork, and 
Severns Valley were the churches. It is a little remarkable 
that all these churches are still in existence. The preachers 
were John Mulky, Robert Stockton, Robert Smith, Baldwin 
Clifton, Alexander Davidson, Carter Tarrant, John Hightower 
and Isaac Denton. It is not remarkable that these have all 
passed away. 

In December, 1799, Carter Tarrant moved from the terri- 
tory of Tates Creek Association, and settled Avithin the bounds 
of Mount Tabor church, and immediately became a mem- 
ber, and the pastor of that flock, Mr. Davidson having re- 
signed. Under his administration, the church decides "the 
washing of the saints' feet a duty, " calls for help ' ' to install Bro. 
Tarrant as pastor," resolves " to keep a small fund in the treas- 
ury, and to raise it by voluntary subscription," and decides 
that where " dress or fashion appears sinful, the church has a 
right to restrict her mem.bers." Mr. Tarrant's pastorate was 
short, but long enough for him to sow the seeds of discord in 
the church, which afterwards produced an abundant crop of con- 
fusion. He was an enthusiastic emancipationist, and led a num- 
ber of the members into his views. He resigned the care of the 
church, in February, 1801, and returned to the Blue grass re- 
gion. The following meeting, Jacob Lock was ordained to the 
oversight of Mount Tabor church, and served in that capacity 
over 38 years. He was succeeded by James Brooks, who ser- 
ved the church till 1879, when he resigned. 

During the great revival, which commenced about two 
years after Mount Tabor was constituted, that church received 
60, by baptism, which brought its membership up to 91. In 
1808, two preachers of her membership, Elijah Davidson and 
John Murphy, declared non-fellowship for the church, on ac- 
count of its tolerating slavery, and were both excluded. Mr. 
Davidson was afterwards restored. In 18 12, the church num- 
bered 160 members, in 1833, it reached 175, and in 1843, it 
numbered 252. 

386 History of Keritncky Baptists. 

When, in 1840, Green River Association split on the subject 
of missions, Mount Tabor church entered into the constitution 
of Liberty Association, of which it has continued a prominent 
member to the present time (1885). In 1878, it numbered 153 

Alexander Davidson was the first pastor of Mount Tabor 
church, and probably the first preacher that settled between 
Green and Barren rivers. He was active in gathering the first 
churches in that region, before any other preacher settled there, 
as well as afterwards. He must have been a man of considera- 
ble prominence, as he represented Warren county in the con- 
vention that formed the second constitution of Kentucky, in 
1799. He was a number of years pastor of Sinking Creek 
church, in Warren county, which was probably gathered by his 
ministry. He was a laborer among the churches of this region, 
as late as 1823. 

Jacob Lock succeeded Carter Tarrant, in the pastoral care 
of Mount Tabor church. He was a man of superior preaching 
talents, and was, for many years, the most distinguished 
preacher in Green River Association, as he was afterwards in 

Jacob Lock was the son of Richard Lock, and was born 
in Berkly county, Va. , about 1768. He was the youngest of 
eight sons, of whom William was killed by the Indians, in 
Kentucky. Jacob's education was wholly neglected in his 
youth. At an early age he married Margaret Jett, by whom 
he raised one daughter and eight sons, two of whom were born 
in Virginia. In 1789, he moved to Mercer county, Kentucky. 
Here he lived about ten years. Sometime during that period he 
united with a Baptist church. Moving to Barren county, he 
united with Mount Tabor church, by letter, on the 3rd Satur- 
day in June, 1800. At this time he could not read, and did not 
even know the alphabet. This was at the time of the great re- 
vival. Mr. Lock's heart was so stirred within him, that he pres- 
ently began to exhort sinners to repent, with great zeal and fer- 
vor. Illiterate as he was, his gifts appeared so profitable that 
the church licensed him to preach, on the 3rd Saturday in Sep- 
tember, 1800. 

He now began to apply himself to close study, at home, as 
well as to active fervent exhortation, among the people. His 

Jacob Lock. 387 

success in reaching the hearts of the people was marked, and 
his improvement in speaking, and in a knowledge of letters, 
was very rapid. He labored on through this revival, during 
which 60 persons united with the church, by experience and 
baptism. Mr. Lock was probably the most efficient laborer in 
this great work. At the February meeting, in 1802, Mr. Tar- 
rant resigned the care of the church, and took a letter of dis- 
mission. On the 3rd Saturday in the following month, Mr. 
Lock was ordained to the ministry, by Alexander Davidson and 
Alexander McDougal. In the following May, he was invited 
to administer the ordinances for the church, and in May, 1803, 
was regurlarly inducted into the pastoral office. He was also 
called to the care of Green River (now Lonoke), Sinking creek, 
and Salem churches. At different periods, he was pastor of 
Glasgow, Mount Olive, Smith's Grove, and perhaps other 
churches. After Robert Stockton became too old and feeble to 
act as Moderator of Green River Association, Mr. Lock usually 
filled that position, till Liberty Association was formed, in 1840, 
after which he was Moderator of that body, till he became too 
infirm to act in that capacity. He died in great peace, January 
18, 1845. 

John Murphy was raised up to the ministry, in MountTabor 
church. He was born in Halifax county, Va., June, 25, 1752. 
In early life he moved to Tennessee, where he professed conver- 
sion, and was baptized by Isaac Barton, in 1790. He united 
with Bent Creek church in Green county of that territory. He 
settled early in Barren county, Kentucky, where, in Novem- 
ber, 1798, he went into the constitution of Mount Tabor church. 
Of this organization, he was elected the first clerk, and was an 
actor in the organization of Green River Association. He was 
licensed to preach in 1801. The time of his ordination is not 
known. In 1808, he was excluded from MountTabor church, 
on account of his declaring non-fellowship with it, for tolerating 
slavery. " He was the first minister south of Green river," says 
Carter Tarrant, " who publicly opposed slavery." What be- 
came of him, after his exclusion from the church, does not ap- 

Robinson Hunt was brought into the ministry, at Mount 
Tabor. He united with this church by letter, in October, 1801, 
and was licensed to exercise a gift the same day. He was or- 

388 History of Kent7icky Baptists. 

dained to the work of the ministry by Alexander Davidson, 
Alexander McDougal, and Elijah Summars, in November, 1802. 
He was dismissed from Mount Tabor church the same day he 
was ordained. He moved to the Bluegrass region of the State. 
There he succeeded Ambrose Dudley in the pastoral care of 
David's Fork church in Fayette county. He appears to have 
been a young man of brilliant gifts. But he did not use them 
long. He died in 1808, and was succeeded in the pastoral 
office by the gifted Jeremiah Vardeman. 

Michael W. Hall, judge of one of the courts of this 
judicial district, a distinguished lawyer, and frequently a mem- 
ber of the legislature from Barren county, was long a member 
of Mt. Tabor church. He was a man of eminent piety, and was 
much esteemed by the church, and, indeed, by Green River 
Association, of which he was many years the efficient clerk. 
He died March i, 1828. 

Robert T. Gardner, who was raised up in Edmonson 
county, it is believed, supplied Mt. Tabor church a few months, 
after the death of Jacob Lock. He was, at that time, a young 
preacher, possessed medium preaching talents, and was a good 
exhorter. He devoted a number of years to the work of an 
evangelist, in which he enjoyed a good degree of success. After 
this, he moved to Texas, where, for many years, he has been 
useful in the ministry. 

James Brooks was the next pastor of this old church. He 
was a son of Jesse Brooks, and was born in Wythe county, 
Va., July 4, 1809. His parents moved, the same year, to Wayne 
county, Ky., where they lived ten years. In 1821, they moved 
to Barren county. Here James was raised up on a farm. He 
received only a common school education. He was married to 
Polly W., daughter of Ephraim Parish, December 27, 1827. 
This marriage was blessed with two sons and three daughters, 
all of whom became Baptists except one daughter who died out 
of the church, but trusting in Jesus. 

Mr. Brooks, with his wife, obtained hope in Christ, and 
was baptized into the fellowship of Mt. Tabor church, by Jacob 
Lock, in November, 1837. He was licensed to exercise a gift 
on the 3d Saturday in November, 1844, and, on the 3d Saturday 
in April, 1845, was ordained to the ministry by Henry Emer- 
son, Isaac N. Brown and Azariah Hatcher. He took charge oi 

Sinking Creek CJmrch. 389 

Little Bethel church in Barren county, the following Saturday, 
and preached to it fourteen years. He was called to Mt. Tabor 
church, the 3d Saturday in April, 1846, and served it as pastor 
thirty-three years. He took the care of Rock Spring church in 
the same county, in 1847, and ministered to it twenty-eight 
years. He preached to New Liberty church in Metcalf county, 
twenty years. He has supplied several other churches for shorter 
periods at different times. He was called to his reward in 1884. 

None of Mr. Brooks' gifts were extraordinary [except his 
singing], but they were all used with extraordinary diligence, and 
recommended by extraordinary piety. The Green river country 
has produced few more valuable ministers. 

Sinking Creek church is located near a stream from which 
it derives its name, near the south-western corner of Barren 
county. It is one of the first three churches gathered in the re- 
gion of country lying between Green and Barren rivers. It was 
probably gathered by Alex. Davidson, as he was the only 
preacher known to have lived in that region, at so early a period. 
It was constituted sometime during the year 1798. The first 
convention that met to consider the propriety of organizing an 
association in this region assembled with this church, the second 
Saturday in June, 1799. Alex. Davidson was probably its first 
pastor, and had membership in it. This church was one of the 
nine of which Green River Association was constituted, in June, 
1800. It shared largely in the great revival. Forty-two were 
added to its membership by experience and baptism, in 1802, 
and it reported that year, an aggregate membership of 142. It 
continued to be a strong, flourishing church till about 1840, 
when it split up on the question of missions. In 1845, it was 
reduced to fifty-five members. It declared itself opposed to be- 
nevolent societies in common with all the churches that re- 
mained in the old mother Association. In consequence of Green 
River Association's having opened correspondence with Liber- 
ty Association, which approves missions. Sinking Creek church 
with four others, withdrew from the former, and formed "Orig- 
inal Green River Association." In 1876, this old church num- 
bered only twenty-nine members. 

Augustine Clayton was a preacher in this church, a short 
time, about 1820. He possessed small preaching gifts, but being 
a pioneer, he exercised some good influence among the settlers. 

390 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Mr. Clayton was born in South Carolina, about 1764. He 
learned to read and write and studied the science of vocal music. 
In early manhood he married Kate Smith, and soon afterward, 
with his wife joined the Methodists, and became an exhorter 
among them. Afterward some Baptist preachers came into the 
neighborhood where he lived, and established a church. Mr. 
Clayton and his wife, becoming convinced that they had not 
been scripturally baptized, now submitted to the ordinance of 
immersion, and united with the Baptist church. He moved to 
what is now Allen county, Kentucky, in 1806. He united first 
with Bethlehem church, and served it as pastor about a year, 
when he moved to Tennessee, where he remained about three 
years. He then moved back to Kentucky, where he spent the 
remainder of his life in Barren and Allen counties. He taught 
singing-schools and preached from house to house exhorting the 
people to repent and turn to the Savior. He was called to his 
reward about the year 1834. 

Jesse Moon, although by no means. a great man, was prob- 
ably the most distinguished preacher in Sinking Creek church, 
after it identified itself as an anti-missionary body. He was born 
in South Carolina, September 4, 1795. His mother brought him 
to Kentucky when he was about five years old. When he grew 
up, he was married to Hannah Johnson. Soon after his mar- 
riage he professed faith in Christ and was baptized into the fel- 
lowship of Big Reedy church, in Butler county. In this church 
he was put into the ministry. He afterward moved to Barren 
county, and united with Sinking Creek church. He was a 
preacher in this church from 1849 to 1867. He served Smiths 
Grove church in Warren county more than thirty years. He 
was moderator of Green River Association eighteen years. He 
moved to Missouri about 1867, where he died in 1870. His son 
Joseph is a preacher among the churches of Original Green River 

Sulphur Spring church was most probably gathered by 
John Hightower. It is located in the southwest corner of Allen 
county, and was constituted in 1798. It is by three years, the 
oldest church in that county. John Hightower was the first 
pastor, and served in that capacity till his death, which occurred 
about 1823. At this period, the church numbered fifty-three 
members. In 1840, it reached a membership of seventy-five. 

Jo Jin Howard. 391 

About this time the subject of missionary operations agitated 
the churches of this region, as well as in most parts of the State. 
Sulphur Spring church took a stand against missionary and other 
benevolent societies. Two years afterward its membership was 
reduced to 43. Since that time it has steadily declined. In 1877 
it numbered only twenty-two members. 

Sulphur Spring church probably united first with Mero 
District Association in Tennessee. It afterward became a mem- 
ber of Green River Association. In 18 12, it entered into the 
constitution of Gasper River Association, and when Drakes 
Creek Association was formed in 1820, it entered into the con- 
stitution of that fraternity, of which it is still a member. The 
peculiarity of this, and other churches, composing Drakes Creek 
Association, is, that, within the last few years, they have dis- 
carded the doctrine of the resurrection. 

John Howard was an early pastor of Sulphur Spring 
church. He was probably the ablest preacher that has ever 
been connected with Drakes Creek Association. His devoted 
piety and faithful labors won the affection of his brethren and 
the confidence of the people. His influence was extensive, and 
he used it diligently in the cause of his beloved Master. Forty 
years after he left his field of labor in Allen and the adjoining coun- 
ties, he was held in vivid remembrance and affectionate regard. 

Mr. Howard was born of Episcopalian parents, in the State 
of Virginia, about the year 1760. At the breaking out of the 
Revolutionary War, his father sent him and his twin brother, 
Thomas, to South Carolina to be out of danger. Here the spirit 
of the Lord overtook the young refugee, and he was over- 
whelmed with a sense of guilt and condemnation before God. 
Having been raised under Episcopalian influence, which was at 
that time, in Virginia, at least, a feeble expression of belief in sal- 
vation by works, young Howard set about trying to justify him 
self before God, by good deeds. But all he could do gave his 
conscience no relief. The more he examined himself in the light 
of God's law, the greater was his distress, until he was almost 
driven to despair. At last he threw himself on the mercy 
of God through Jesus Christ, and was enabled to enjoy great 
peace. He soon afterward united with a Baptist church. At the 
close of the war, he went to Georgia, where he was brought into 
the ministry. 

392 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Soon after the beginning of the present century, he moved 
to Kentucky, and settled in what is nowAllen county. Here he 
united with Trammels Fork church, and soon afterward became its 
pastor. Some time after, he was chosen pastor of Sulphur 
Spring church, in the same county. To these churches, he 
preached till about 1829. 

Mr. Howard was a man of good cultivation, possessed ex- 
cellent preaching talents, and was a faithful and skillful laborer 
in the cause of his Master. His preaching was a clear, strong 
statement of gospel truth. He was an excellent singer, and 
was very skillful in the use of his fine social powers. His use- 
fulness, both in building up the churches and in leading sinners 
to the Savior, was very great. His themes in the pulpit, and, 
indeed everywhere else, were the love of God and Christ's suffer- 
ing for sinners. He believed fully in the doctrine of sovereign 
grace, but preached earnestly that men ought to repent and 
turn to God. 

About the }^ear 1829, he moved to Fulton county, Illinois. 
Here he lived and labored about sixteen years, and then went 
to that city which he had been seeking from the days of his 
youth. Among his last words were these: "God's portion is 
his people, and Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." 

Mr. Howard was married four times, and raised a large and 
respectable family. One of his sons, Emizar Howard, was a 
very respectable preacher in Spoon River Association in Illinois. 
Tilman Howard, another of his sons, was a prominent lawyer 
and politician in Indiana. Mr. Howard's fourth marriage was 
unfortunate. His wife opposed his preaching, and much im- 
bittered his last years. 

Isaac Steele was many years pastor of Sulphur Spring 
church.* James Steele, his father, was, in early life a resident 
of North Carolina. He served seven years in the old Revolu- 
tionary War. He was in twenty-one pitched battles, and had 
his clothes and hair cut by several musket balls, but received 
no wound. He was among the early emigrants from North 
Carolina to what is now Allen county, Kentucky. Here he 
opened a farm and tilled it until his death. 

Isaac Steele was born in North Carolina, in 1789, and came 

* I was led into a mistake here. Mr. Steele was pastor of Sulphur 
Spring church in Simpson county, instead of that in Allen county. 

Isaac Steele. 393 

with his parents to Kentucky in early childhood. He was 
brought up on a farm, and received a better education than was 
usual where he was raised. This, however, was very limited. 
He professed religion in his i6th year, and was baptized into 
the fellowship of Salem church, at her arm on Middle Fork 
of Drakes Creek, by John Hightower. He was in the consti- 
tution of Middle Fork church in Allen county, in 1808, and was 
licensed to exercise a gift, August 2, 181 2. His progress was 
so slow that he was kept on probation five years. In January, 
i'8i8, he was ordained to the ministry by Zachariah Morris, 
Benjamin Jackson and Jesse L. Hickman. Soon after his mar- 
riage, he moved on the line of Tennessee. So that his house 
stood in Simpson and Logan counties of Kentucky, and Robert- 
son county, Tennessee. His citizenship was in Kentucky. The 
churches of which he was pastor longest, were Sulphur Spring, 
Sulphur Fork and Head of Red River. He was zealous and in- 
dustrious in his holy calling, and many sinners were led to Christ 
through his ministry. Among the fruits of his early ministry 
was the now venerable O. H. Morrow, who has been an 
eminently successful minister of Jesus Christ about fifty-five 
years. Late in life as Mr. Steele began to preach, he labored 
in the gospel ministry fifty years. He was called to his reward 
in 1862. 

Mr. Steele possessed but little genius, and only a moderate 
intellect. The powers of his mind developed very slowly, and 
never rose above mediocrity. His fund of knowledge, which 
was not extensive, was acquired by slow and patient investiga- 
tion, and was thoroughly digested. He possesed a sound dis- 
criminating judgment, and his mind was well disciplined. He 
was conservative in his temperament, and never bold or defiant 
in his address. Perhaps he was cautious and timid to a fault 
— failing sometimes to declare his matured convictions, lest he 
should provoke controversy, to which he had a great aversion. 

When Drake's Creek Association divided, in 1840, on the 
subject of missions, the church of which Mr. Steele was a mem- 
ber, and those of which he was pastor, adhered to the anti -mis- 
sionary party, and he remained in that connection, the remainder 
of his life. "But," writes O. H. Morrow, "he was by no 
means anti-missionary in his feelings or preaching. He had 

been with his churches so long, and was now getting old, that 

394 Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. 

it required more nerve to leave them than he possessed." Mr. 
Morrow continues: "Bro. Steele, was a very acceptable preacher 
of the gospel. When in his prime, his voice was melodious, 
and his manner fascinating. Few men in his day could draw 
out as large congregations. He was deservedly very popular. 
He would labor freely and successfully among the Missionary 
Baptists, and was very far from being inefficient in revivals. He 
Avas a model ate Calvinist in sentiment. Few men held so strong 


and lasting a hold on the affections of his brethren and the peo- 
ple generally. He was a good man wherever he was found* 
and still lives in the affections of all who knew him." 

Mr. Steele was three times married, and raised a respecta- 
ble family of five sons and seven daughters. 

Muddy River church was the first Baptist organization 
of the kind within the present limits of Logan county. It was 
located on the head-waters of the stream from which it derived 
its name, a {&\n miles north-east of Russellville. It was proba- 
bly gathered by Lewis Moore, and was constituted in 1798. It 
probably first united with Mero District Association, then 
entered into the constitution of Cumberland, and finally, into 
that of Red River, of which it remained a member as long as 
it had an existence. It appears never to have become a large 
church. In 18 12, it numbered sixty-four members, in 1830 
forty- three, and, in 1832 forty members. It had some able 
ministers and other prominent men among its members, and 
was doubtless the mother of several churches which arose 
around it. 

Lewis Moore, who was a number of years, (probably from 
its constitution), pastor of Muddy River church, was early a 
resident, and most likely, a native of Johnson county, N. C. 
Tnere he was licensed to preach. He was ordained to the pas- 
toral care of Reedy Creek church in Warren county of that 
State in 1786. To this church he preached twelve years. He 
was also pastor of Sandy Creek church in Franklin county 
fourteen years. In 1798, he moved to Kentucky, and settled 
on Muddy river, in Logan county. There he became a mem- 
ber and the pastor of Muddy River church, to which he minis- 
tered at least fourteen years. According to tradition, he was a 
good, plain, old preacher, and was, for a number of years after he 
moved to Kentucky, the only Baptist preacher in Logan county 

Leonard Page. 395 

except John Bailey, who moved to the county in 1798, and 
remained there only two years. 

Leonard Page was early a minister in Muddy River church. 
He was a preacher of fair ability, a man of eminent respectability, 
and a wise and prudent laborer. The distinguished Andrew 
Broadus of Virginia, speaks of him as the " Honorable Leonard 
Page," by which it is inferred that he had enjoyed some political 
distinction in the earlier part of his life. 

Leonard Page was the son of John Page, a respectable 
farmer, and a member of Licking Hole Baptist church in Gooch- 
land county, Va., and was born September 29th, 1762. He 
received a common school education. At the age of sixteen 
years, he entered the Continental army, and continued in active 
service till the close of the war. Soon after his return home, he 
married Jenny, daughter of Johnson Hodges, a farmer of Gooch- 
land county. She had been raised an Episcopalian, but, some- 
time after her marriage, professed conversion, and united with 
the Licking Hole Baptist church, then under the pastoral care 
of Hugh French. Her husband soon afterward followed her 
example. In this church Mr. Page was ordained to the ministry. 
Speaking of this church, Mr. Semple says: "In 1804, they 
enjoyed one of the most heavenly revivals that ever was seen. 
Four or five hundred were baptized, and among them some very 
respectable characters indeed. Leonard Page, who was very 
active and useful in the revival, has since been chosen pastor." 
\\\ this revival, Mr. Page baptized two of his children. The 
church continued to prosper under his care, till 181 1, when he 
resigned his charge and moved to Kentucky. 

He settled on Whippoorwill creek, about seven miles west 
of Russellville, in Logan county. Although this region had 
been settled nearly twenty years, and there had been some 
extensive religious revivals among the people, the Baptist cause 
had been neglected for want of laborers. Mr. Page united with 
the little church on Muddy river, which was at least ten miles 
from his residence. 

Mr. Page, though past middle life, went actively to work in 
this new field. With well defined purpose and much practical 
experience directing his efforts, he did not labor in vain. Pie 
soon raised up a church at Russellville, and became its pastor. 
This organization has been a very prosperous one, and is now 

396 Histofy of Kentucky Baptists. 

one of the leading churches of Bethel Association. Mr. Page 
continued pastor of this church till 1821, when William Warder 
settled among them and became their pastor. Mr. Page was 
instrumental in gathering several other churches, among which 
were Union, near his home, Mt. Gilead, at Allensville, and 
Pleasant Grove, in the southern part of I.ogan county. To 
these churches he ministered till he became old and feeble, and 
other ministers were raised up to take charge of them. Near 
the close of his life, he joined the Campbellites, after which he 
preached very little. He died from the effects of cholera, by 
which he had been attacked a year previous, March 28th, 1836.- 
Of his descendants, B. F. Page, a grandson, is a respectable 
Baptist preacher in Liberty Association. 

Philip Warden was the third pastor of Old Muddy River 
church. He was a preacher of good gifts, and extraordinary 
usefulness. He occupied a broad field, lying between Russell- 
ville and Green river, in which there was no preacher of 
moderately fair attainments, except himself and the Venerable 
Benjamin Talbot, for a long period. 

Mr. Warden was born in Ireland, in 1763. His parents 
emigrated to America, while he was in his infancy, and were 
among the first settlers of Fayette county, Kentucky. Young 
Philip grew up to be a bold, daring youth, and was possessed of 
true Irish courage. The Indians did not allow him to want op- 
portunities to display his bravery. Whenever there was a horse 
stolen, or a family murdered, by the savages, the enthusiastic 
young Irishman was " up inarms," and ready for the pursuit. 
He was in many Indian fights, and among other daring adven- 
tures of his, he accompanied General Wayne in his Northern 
campaign, in 1792. 

It was probably during the great revival, at the beginning 
of the century, that Philip Warden was converted and baptized, 
into the fellowship of Forks of Elkhorn church, in Franklin 
county, by the famous William Hickman. The laborers in the 
vineyard were plenty, in that region, and it is not known that 
Mr. Warden engaged in any public religious exercises while he 
remained on Elkhorn. But, in 18 13, he moved to the Green 
River country, and setted in the northern part of Logan county. 
Here he and his wife, Rachel, united with Mount Moriah 
church, afterwards called Stony Point, which had been consti- 

Philip Warden. 397 

tuted in April of that year. The people were poor and illiter- 
ate, and had great need of some one to teach them the true Wis- 
dom. On the 25th of February, 1814, two months after Mr. 
Warden joined the church, the following item was entered on 
their book of records : 

"The brethren's minds consulted respecting Brother War- 
den's gift, and it is approved of ; and he is licensed to preach 
the gospel at home and abroad, and [we] bid him God speed." 

Mr. Warden was now 5 i years old. But he availed him- 
self of his license, and literally preached the gospel ''at home 
and abroad." His gift appeared to so great a profit, that he was 
ordained to the ministry, by Lewis Fortner, John Martin, and 
WilliamTatum, in September, 1815. He now had a wide, un- 
cultivated field to operate in, and he went to work in earnest. 
He preached the gospel from house to house, with a burning 
zeal. The Lord gave him great favor with the people, and a mul- 
titude received the word from his lips, and rejoiced in it. 

The first church he was called to, was Ivy in Warren 
county. In 1820, on the resignation of Daniel Barham, he was 
called to the care of Stony Point, of which he was a member. 
Having resigned the care of Ivy, he was called to Bethany 
and Muddy River in Logan, and Hazel Creek in Muhlenburg. 
To three of these churches he ministered with abundant suc- 
cess. But Bethany, to which, in 1826, he, with his family, had 
moved his membership, was factious and turbulent. They 
had among them a sort of preacher of the name of Dud- 
ley Robertson. He was Antinomian in doctrine, and violently 
opposed to missions. Mr. Warden believed in the sufficiency 
of the sacrifice of Christ to save all men, and was warmly in fa- 
vor of sending the gospel abroad, as well as of preaching it to 
everybody at home. The church soon became divided in senti- 
ment between the two systems of doctrine. The Robertson 
party became dissatisfied with Mr. Warden, and determined to 
reform his doctrine, or silence him from preaching. They soon 
found an opportunity' to test the measure of their authority. It 
being winter, the church held meeting at a private house. 
When Mr. Warden rose up to preach, something like the fol- 
lowing dialogue took place between him and one of the Anti- 
missionary members : 

Member: "Sit down. Sir, you can't preach here to-day. " 

398 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Preacher: '• Why so ?" 

Member : ' ' Because you are out of order. " 

PreacJier : ' ' There is no charge preferred against me, that 
I know of." 

Member : "It's no odds : you are out of order, Sir, and 
you can't preach hereto-day." 

Preacher: " I will preach, the Lord being my helper." 

Mr. Warden proceeded to deliver his discourse. During 
the delivery of the sermon the Anti-missionary party collected 
in one corner of the room, claimed to be Bethany church, and 
proceeded to the transaction of business. A few days after- 
wards, two of the leaders in this disgraceful affair were ar- 
raigned before a justice of the peace, by some friend of law and 
order. One of them was fined ten, and the other fifteen dol- 

On testing the strength of the two parties in the church, it 
was found that the Missionaries had a small majority. The 
Robertson party magnanimously proffered to give the Mission- 
ary party letters of dismission, which they accepted, and imme- 
diately joined Stony Point church. The magnanimity of the 
Anti-missionaries, however, turned out to be only a cunning 
trick ; for when they came together next church meeting, they 
revoked the act, granting letters to the Missionary party, and 
formally excluded them from the church. Such is the madness 
which religious partisanism engenders among an ignorant peo- 
ple, even when they are well meaning. 

Soon after this, Mr. Warden went into the constitution of 
a new church, called Liberty. This church is located about two 
miles north of Auburn in Logan county, and was constituted 
in the summer of 1829. To this church Mr. Warden minis- 
tered, the remainder of his earthly pilgrimage. It was at the 
opening of a new house of worship by this church, that J. M. 
Pendleton preached the sermon which he afterwards expanded 
into the popular little book, called Three Reasons Why I am 
A Baptist, The late Venerable Robert Woodward was raised 
up to the ministry in this church, and succeeded Mr. Warden 
in its pastoral care. John W. Self was also raised up to the 
ministry, in Liberty church. He began to preach about 1857. 

Mr. Warden continued to labor faithfully, and with almost 
universal acceptance, till the Lord called him home. Few men 

Orson Holland Morrow. -^gg. 

were more loved, or exerted a greater influence foi good. He 
died in great peace and strong confidence, at his home in 
Logan county, on the first day of November, 1843. 

Of this good man, Robert Woodward writes: "He was a 
successful minister, and a man of deep piety and burning zeal. 
Too much can not be said of his devotion and usefulness. He 
was no ordinary man. He read his Bible with all the helps he 
could obtain in his day. Whenever it was said: ' Father War- 
den is going to preach, ' the people said: 'Let us go and hear him; 
for we will be certain to hear something we never heard be- 
fore.-' " Unlike too many old preachers, he was a student, as well 
as an active laborer, as long as he lived. By this means he al- 
ways had some new thought in his sermons. This enabled him 
to interest the people, and thereby to accomplish good as long 
as he lived. He was among those that "hold out faithful to the 

Orson Holland Morrow first entered the pastoral ofiice 
at Old Muddy River church, where he was probably the imme- 
diate successor of Philip Warden. He did not occupy the posi- 
tion long, before antagonism of doctrine between him and the 
church induced him to resign. 

O. H. Morrow was born in Rutherford county, North Car- 
olina, November 10, 1800. He was brought by his parents to 
what is now Simpson county, Kentucky, in 1807. Here he 
was raised on a farm, going to school in winter, and laboring on 
his father's plantation the rest of the year. He closed his edu- 
cational opportunities, with one year at school. After this he 
studied practical surveying, and was afterward surveyor for 
Simpson county a number of years. He possessed fine natural 
capacities, and early formed good business habits, and, although 
he began life poor, he was never afterward embarrassed by 

On the the first day of March, 1821, he was married to 
Sally, daughter of Colonel James Hambright. With this young 
woman he had gone to school. This marriage was blessed with 
eight daughters, most, or all of whom were married, but all of 
whom died young. 

Mr. Morrow was a gay young man, and very thoughtless 
about his soul. He engaged in the fashionable amusements of 
the day with great zest, and was especially fond of dancing. For 

400 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

a short time he was engaged in distilling whisky, of which he 
professed to be ashamed ever afterward. He named the place 
where his still-house stood, "Morrow's Folly." In 1827 a small 
Baptist church was constituted near Mr. Morrow's residence, 
and named Sulphur Spring. Isaac Steele was chosen its pastor. 
Mr. Morrow was finally induced to attend public worship at 
this place. But it was not till 1829, that he became interested 
about the salvation of his soul. He was, during many weeks, 
deeply overwhelmed with a sense of his guilt and condemnation 
before God. He continued to attend meeting, read the Bible 
and pray. After many weeks it occurred to him that he had 
not prayed in the name of Christ. He at once began to beseech 
God for mercy in the name of Jesus Christ. He soon obtained 
great joy in believing in Jesus. That night he and his wife went 
to a little neighborhood prayer meeting. On their way he told 
his wife of the great and happy changahe had experienced, but 
supposed no one else knew of it. During the meeting or rather 
at its close, he was called on to pray. He was much surprised, 
but did not hesitate to make the effort. There was much weep- 
ing, both by himself and the congregation. He soon afterward 
united with Sulphur Spring church, and was baptized by Isaac 
Steele. After this he conducted the prayer meetings, and 
would usually close with an exhortation. A revival ensued, 
and a number of persons were converted. Mr. Morrow was 
soon licensed to exercise his gift. In 1833, Muddy River church 
being without a pastor, called for his ordination. Accordingly 
on the 13th of September of that year, he was ordained by 
Benjamin Jackson, Richard Owens, Isaac Steele and Zachariah 
Morris, and at once took the pastoral care of Muddy River 
church. He entered upon the duties of his sacred office, and 
soon built up a good congregation. The church was encour- 
aged, and several persons were baptized. But his pastorate 
was destined to be short. 

In the fall of 1833, Gideon Blackburn, a Presbyterian min- 
ister, delivered a discourse on temperance, in Franklin, the 
county seat of Simpson. Mr. Morrow was present, listened to 
the arguments in favor of total abstinence from strong drink, 
and was convinced. He went home and began at once to try 
to convince his neighbors of the propriety of total abstinence. 
He also induced a temperance speaker to deliver a lecture in 

Orson Holland Morrozv. 401 

the neighborhood, and he and a number of his neighbors, in- 
ckiding several members of Sulphur Spring church, formed a 
temperance society, by writing their names on a piece of blank 
paper. The church took up the question as to whether she 
would tolerate her members in belonging to a temperance soci- 
ety. The excitement was intense, and pervaded the whole 
community. Immense crowds assembled to hear the discussion 
three successive church meetings. Finally the vote was taken 
and the question was decided in the negative by a small majority. 
A compromise was effected by which the temperance party was 
lettered off Of its members a new church was constituted under 
the title of the Baptist church at Sulphur Spring, Aug. 2, 1834. 
It was composed of twenty-one members. William Warder was 
induced to preach to it a few months, when Mr. Morrow having 
of necessity, resigned the care of Muddy River church, was called 
to take charge of it. He was soon afterward called to Lake 
Spring and Franklin, in Simpson, and Friendship, in Logan 
county. In 1838, Sulphur Spring church finished a large brick 
house of worship, and on Christmas day of that year com- 
menced a meeting which was to continue a week. Protracted 
meetings were just beginning to come in vogue, and many of 
the churches were opposed to them. When the meeting at 
Sulphur Spring had continued a week, the interest was very ex- 
tensive. Many people were convicted of their sins, and one 
man had professed conversion. But the influential old mem- 
bers of the church said the meeting must close. If it should con- 
tinue longer, it would be "'a protracted mecti)ig,'' and that could 
not be tolerated. Mr. Morrow determined that the meetinpf 
should go on. He rose up, made a speech to the multitude, 
in favor of its continuance, and then took the vote of the con- 
gregation. The people nearly all voted in favor of continuing 
the meeting. The three preachers that had been laboring in the 
meeting had gone home. Mr. Morrow continued the meeting 
without ministerial aid, and ninety persons were baptized. 

The four churches to which Mr. Morrow was preaching, 
now employed him to devote his whole time to the ministry, for 
one year, or, as they expressed it, "to preach every day." 
His success in building up the churches of which he was pastor, 
and in calling sinners from " the hedges and highways, " jus- 
tified the hopes of his brethren. This year's work resulted in 

402 History of Kenhicky Baptists. 

the formation of two new churches — Union, in Warren county, 
constituted of twenty-nine members, November 12th, 1839, and 
Shady Grove, in Simpson county, which continued an arm of 
Frankhn church till May 15th, 1841, Avhen it was regularly con- 
stituted a church of thirty-four members. To Union church 
he preached about forty-five years, to Sulphur Spring forty, 
to Pleasant Grove -forty years, and to several others shorter 

Mr. Morrow possessed a strong logical mind, and was a 
close student, especially of the Bible. He occasionally entered 
into the religious controversy of his day, both orally and with 
his pen, and was by no means an unworthy contestant with 
some of the ablest minds of the country. His style, both in 
writing and speaking, lacked the smoothness of classical train- 
ing, but it was always strong and convincing. His voice was 
rather harsh, and he w'as defective in elocution, but his sermons 
reached the masses with wonderful power. In person he was 
tall, well proportioned and commanding in appearance. A 
judge of men would see at a glance that he was born to be a 
leader, in whatever occupation he might have followed. His 
whole character combined the elements of success in an eminent 
degree. But what is most to be admired in him was that all 
his powers were honestly consecrated to the service of his 
beloved Master. 

During the first eight years of his ministry he kept no 
account of his labors. After this, he kept a diary, from which 
the following paragraph was composed, and was published in 
the Franklin Patriot in 1876 : 

" He has been instrumental in organizing and building up 
sevea churches. He has served as pastor, for different periods 
of time, fourteen churches, preaching to several of them two 
days in the week once a month. He has served them alone, 
adding together the years he has preached to each, 1 12 years, 
viz: Pleasant Grove, Logan county, 35 years; Old Union, 
Warren county, 37 years, and Sulphur Spring, Simpsoncounty, 
40 years. He has preached about 3,500 sermons, delivered 
about 3,000 exhortations, attended about 400 funerals, married 
about 500 couples, baptized about 2,020 persons, 18 of whom 
became active ministers of the gosnel, and, in doing this work, 
traveled about 52,200 miles — more than twice around the globe. 

Beaver Dam Church. 403 

Besides a'l this, he made scores of temperance speeches, attended 
well to his temporal and home interest, and has surveyed 
enough land to make a small State." 

Nine years has passed away since the above paragraph was 
written, and the venerable man of God is still living and labor- 
ing for the Master. 

Beaver Dam church is located in Ohio county, about four 
miles south of Hartford, the country-seat. It takes its name 
from a small tributary of Muddy creek, near which it is situated. 
It is, by several years, the oldest church between the Green 
and Ohio rivers, west of Elizabethtown, and is the mother of a 
large family of similar organizations in that region of the State. 
There was a very early settlement at Hartford, probably not 
far from the year 1780. Among these early settlers was a 
German family, bearing the name that is now spelt Coleman. 
After spending some time in the fort, near the present town of 
Hartford, Mr. Coleman moved his family about five miles south, 
and located on a small stream', to which he gave the name 
"Beaver Dam," in consequence of the beavers having built 
dams across it to raise the water over the entrance to their sub- 
terranean houses. "The first religious awakening of which we 
have any account," J. S. Coleman informs us, in his very 
interesting history of Beaver Dam church, "was produced in 
the mind of Mrs. Coleman through reading Luther's translation 
of the New Testament, a copy of which she had brought with 
her from Germany. After some time spent in reading, weep- 
ing and praying, this German woman found peace and great joy 
in trusting in Jesus for salvation. But now she saw that the 
same book, that had led her to the Savior, commanded her to 
be dipped in the name of the Holy Trinity ; for such is the 
meaning of the word for baptism in Luther's translation. This 
much perplexed her, for there was no minister of the Gospel in 
all that region of country. Her conscience could not be at 
rest till she should have obeyed her beloved Lord. Finally, 
her course was resolved upon. She walked down to the little 
stream of Beaver Dam, and dipped herself beneath its waters. 
Coming up out of the water rejoicing, she met her little son 
who had followed her to the baptismal stream. He asked her 
why she dipped herself in the water. Being filled with the 
Holy Spirit, she preached Jesus to her little son. There the lad 

404 Histoiy of Kentucky Baptists. 

received his first religious impressions, and was afterwards, for 
many years, a valuable member of old Beaver Dam church." 
This little boy was the grandfather of the widely known J. S. 
Coleman, long the efficient pastor of Beaver Dam church, 

Beaver Dam church was constituted on the 5th of March, 
1798, of the following five persons: John Atherton, Sr., and 
his wife Sally, Aaron Atherton and his wife Christina, and 
James Keel. The latter was a preacher, and for a short time 
served the young church as pastor. But, in 1803, moved back 
to Mercer county, from whence he had come to this region, and 
was succeeded in the pastoral office at Beaver Dam by the 
famous old pioneer Ben Talbot. Mr. Talbot served the church 
with great acceptance nearly thirty years. During the year 
1804, the church enjoyed a precious revival, during which fifty- 
two were added to her membership by baptism. During this 
revival, Mrs. Coleman, who had baptized herself many years 
before, as related above, was baptized by Mr. Talbot and 
received into the church. Another incident occurred just at 
the beginning of this revival, which J. S. Coleman relates as 
follows : 

" The preacher arrived at the water's edge a little in advance 
of the Dutchman, and began preparing for the baptismal service, 
when, hearing a splash in the water behind him, he looked just 
in time to see his candidate disappear under the wave, but mo- 
mentarily emerging from the water, and facing the preacher, ex- 
claimed, in the full use of his German brogue, ' Mr. Bracher, 
vill dot do ?' Talbot, rather abashed, hesitated to reply for a 
moment, when plunge went his Dutchman under again. When 
coming again to a perpendicular, he exclaimed, with increasing 
vehemence, 'Mr. Bracher, me shay vill dot do?' This time 
Mr. Talbot made haste to reply, and was just in time to save 
John Inglebright from the third plunge. Coming up out of the 
water, he stood shivering until Talbot sang a hymn and offered 
prayer, and then submitting himself into the hands of the ad- 
ministrator, received the ordinance in due form." 

The second revival which occurred in this church, was dur- 
ing the period of the alarming earthquakes which prevailed in 
the Mississippi Valley, in 1811-12. A large number was added 
to the church, 5 i being approved for baptism, in a single day. 
At the close of this revival, the church numbered 175 members. 

Beaver Dam Church, 405 

She now began to establish "arms " at different points in her 
extensive territory. These " arms " were small bodies of 
brethren, belonging to the mother church, who met statedly for 
worship, and were watched over by the pastor, and a com- 
mittee of brethren appointed for the purpose. They exercised 
some of the functions of a church, but all their transactions 
were subject to revision by the mother church. When one of these 
arms was deemed competent ' ' to keep house, " or was ' ' ripe for 
constitution," it was constituted in due form, and became an 
independent church. If an arm did not prosper, or failed to 
conduct itself properly, it was dissolved. The following record 
shows how the church dealt with an inefficient arm : 

" Bro. R, Render and Henry Coleman met our arm at 
Vienna Falls, and found several of the members living scandal- 
ous lives. Whereupon they turned out the bad ones and brought 
the good ones home with them." 

By this means of church extension, Beaver Dam dotted 
a large expanse of country with numerous churches, several of 
which are now among the largest and most efficient country 
churches in the State. This old church probably first joined 
Mero District Association, then Cumberland, then Union, then 
Green River, then Gasper River, and, finally, Daviess County 
Association. It continued to be a very prosperous church, un- 
til the last few years, when it fell into the pernicious habit of fre- 
quently changing pastors. Since which it has been unhappy, 
and appears to be in a decline. Of James Keel and Benjamin 
Talbot, the first and second pastors of this old mother church, 
something has been said elsewhere. 

Alfred Taylor was a very distinguished minister of the 
gospel in his country, and generation. The Green river country 
had produced no such a man before him. 

Joseph Taylor, his father, was a native of North Carolina. 
In early life he professed conversion and, Avith his wife, united 
with the Methodists, and, by them, was put into the ministry. 
After some years, he became convinced of the scripturalness of 
Baptist principles, and was baptized by Nathan Arnett of Ten- 
nessee. In September, 1804, he and his wife entered into the 
constitution of Providence church, in Warren county, Ken- 
tucky. He remained a minister in this church, till 181 1, when 
he moved to Butler county, and united with Monticelo. Of this 

406 History of KejiUicky Baptists. 

church, he became pastor, and served it in that capacity till 
1837. Hs ^^^s a preacher of small gifts, but is believed to have 
served his generation faithfully, and doubtless accomplished 
some good. 

Alfred Taylor was born in Warren county, Kentucky, July 
19, 1808. At three years old, he was taken by his parents to 
Butler county, where he was raised up. His opportunities for 
learning were so poor, that, at the age of twenty, he could 
barely read intelligently. After he entered the ministry, he 
was, for a time, under the tuition of David L. Mansfield, and, 
at a still later period, he studied under the renowned William 
Warder. He possessed a strong logical mind, and was an 
earnest student : so that in the end he was well educated, in 
the best sense of the term. 

Notwithstanding young Taylor was raised by pious par- 
ents, he early fell in with evil associates, and by degrees, formed 
habits of dissipation, and finally became profanely wicked. But 
at length the Holy Spirit found way to his heart. In his journal, 
he says : " After laboring four years to recommend myself to 
God's favor, I was enabled, in my 22d year, October, 1829, to 
trust in Him whose blood speaketh better things than that of 
Abel, in whom believing, I was enabled to rejoice with joy un- 
utterable and full of glory. In November following, I was bap- 
tized in Sandy creek, Bufler county, Kentucky, by Benjamin 
Talbot." He soon began to exercise in public, and, 011 the 3d 
Saturday in May, 183 1, was licensed to preach. He was ex- 
tremely awkward in his early efforts, and so slow was his progress, 
that it began to be said freely: " That man had better quit." 
But his heart was in the matter, and he persevered. 

After three years' probation, he was ordained at Sandy 
Creek church, in May, 1834, by Joseph Taylor, David J. 
Kelly, and William Childress. He was called to Pond Run 
church the same year, and to Sandy Creek, the year following. 
In 1835, he was married, and the next year moved to Ohio 
county, and took charge of old Beaver Dam church. By this 
time he had gained sufficient confidence and mental discipline 
to be able to express his thoughts, and he grew rapidly in popu- 
larity and usefulness. From this time he had many more calls 
than he could accept. His success in bringing the unconverted 
to the Savior was wholly unprecedented, in the lower Green 

Alfred Taylor. 407 

River country. But his pastoral labors, which were faithful and 
efficient, in an eminent degree, formed but a small part of his 

Between the time of Mr. Taylor's ordination, in 1834, and 
the close of the year 1836, the following eminent ministers left 
the harvest field, in Kentucky, and went to their home 
above : Walter Warder, William Warder, William C. Warfield, 
John S. Wilson, Benjamin Talbot, D. J. Kelley, David Thur- 
man, and James H. L. Moorman. These were the leaders of 
God's hosts, in the State. All of them, except the first named, 
labored in the Green River country. Of all the preachers, of 
anything like prominence in the general work of the Denomina- 
tion, in the lower Green River Valley, D. L. Mansfield was left 
alone, and his labors were confined to a comparatively narrow 
boundary. At the beginning of the great revival of 1837-40, 
Alfred Taylor became the leader, by common consent. And 
few men ever discharged the responsibility more worthily, or 
with greater success. The question of the propriety of " pro- 
tracted meetings" was the first one he was called on to de- 
cide. Against much opposition, he determined in their favor. 
His first experiment was made at Walton's Creek in Ohio 
county. The Lord decided in his favor. Over 180 people pro- 
fessed conversion. He now gave himself wholly to the work of the 
ministry, with great activity. From this period, till his delicate 
frame became too much enfeebled to endure constant labor, near 
the close of his pilgrimage, he was the leading preacher of the lower 
Green River Valley. In preaching talent, he had no equal, ex- 
cept his intimate and steadfast friend, J. M. Pendleton, and as a 
successful preacher, he was without a rival. Besides the 
churches already named, a number of others, including the first 
church at Owensboro' enjoyed his pastoral ministrations, for dif- 
ferent periods of time. 

Towards the close of his life, he suffered from disease of 
the lungs to such a degree, that he was compelled to desist 
from preaching, for a time. But, after a brief rest, he again en- 
tered the field of labor. In the fall of 1865, he went to the 
neighborhood of Providence church in Warren county, to preach 
a funeral discourse, and then aid his son, J. S. Taylor, in a 
series of meetings, at that church. He reached Charles Asher's, 
in the neighborhood of the church, on Friday night, and was so 

408 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

feeble that he had to be assisted to bed. He continued to sink 
till the 9th of October, 1865, when he went to his everlasting 

. Mr. Taylor was three times married, and raised a large and 
respectable family. Three of his sons, Judson S., William C. 
and James P., are Baptist preachers, and, it is hoped, are 
worthy of so noble a father. W. C. Taylor has published abrief 
biography of his father, in a neat little volume of 123 pages. 

David Ewing Burns, one of the most distinguished pul- 
pit orators of the Mississippi Valley, succeeded Alfred Taylor 
in the pastoral care of Beaver Dam church, in 1845. He was a 
native of Indiana, and was born of poor, illiterate parents, a 
few miles up the Ohio river from Evansville. He was raised up 
to hard, rough labor and the rude sports and frolics of an es- 
sentially backwoods life. At the age of manhood, he could read 
with some fluency and write a little, very crudely. At this 
period he crossed over the Ohio river, with the hope of getting 
employment as a stage driver. Falling in at a meeting, con- 
ducted by Alfred Taylor, in the region of Owensboro', he re- 
mained some days, professed conversion, and was baptized by 
Mr. Taylor. Returning to his mother's, he engaged in prayer 
and exhortation, and there was soon a considerable revival 
in the little church near his home. A few months after this, 
he went to Hardinsburg, Kentucky, to attend a meeting, con- 
ducted by Thomas J. Fisher. During this meeting, he preached 
his first sermon. The people were astonished at his wonder- 
ful oratory. He was induced to go to Georgetown College. But 
remained there less than a month. He returned to the Green 
River country, and was ordained to the ministry, about 1845, by 
T. J. Fisher and Thomas L. Garrott. He was called to the 
care of Beaver Dam, and perhaps some other country churches, 
to which he preached but a few months, when he accepted a 
call to the church in the town of Henderson. The charms of 
his oratory drew admiring crowds wherever he preached. HeJ 
read poetry and light literature, but had no taste, and perhaps 
very little capacity for study. After remaining a year at Hen- 
derson, he became pastor of the church in Russellville. He was] 
wonderfully popular with the young, but he did not please the] 
older members of the church. He remained there but six^ 
months, when he accepted a call to Paducah. Here he re- 

David Ewing Bums. 409 

mained three years, preaching to large and admiring crowds to 
the last. 

In 1850, Mr. Burns was called totheBeal Street church, in 
Memphis, Tennessee. He remained here a year, preaching to 
the largest congregation in the city. From Memphis he was 
called to Jackson, Mississippi. Here, at the age of thirty, he 
was married to Tallula Slaughter, an orphan, who possessed 
considerable property. By this means, he became proprietor of 
a valuable plantation near Canton, Mississippi. To this planta- 
tion lie moved, and became pastor of the church at Canton. He 
succeeded Avell in business, and was popular as a preacher. But 
the calamities of the war fell heavily upon him, as upon thous- 
ands of others, and left him penniless. In 1866, he took charge 
Df the Coliseum Place church in New Orleans. But the society 
did not suit him, and he Avas uncomfortable. After a short and 
unsuccessful pastorate, he accepted a call to the First Church in 
Memphis. Here he enjoyed great popularity, the brief re- 
mainder of his days on earth. After a short illness, he died at 
tiis home in Memphis, in November, 1870. His last audible 
ivords were : "I have trusted in Jesus for thirty years. I can trust 
bim still." 

Mr. Burns was an oratot by nature, and, with proper 
training, might have exercised an immense pulpit power. But 
destitute of this, he fascinated the multitudes, as few men 
:ould, without either instructing them, or reaching their hearts. 
He had very meager fruits of his ministry, notwithstanding the 
^reat crowds that attended his preaching, from first to last. As 
a Christian man, his character, as far as known, was spotless. 
He was a man of public spirit, and gave valuable aid to the De- 
nominational enterprises of his time. He possessed a generous 
spirit, and a cheerful temper, and was much loved by those with 
whom he associated. 

James Smith Coleman was long the pastor of Old Beaver 
Dam. His parents, grand parents, and great grand parents, 
were members of thij church, and he united with it, when he 
was eleven years and ten days old. At nineteen years of age, 
he was chosen clerk of this church of his fathers, in which ca- 
pacity, he served nine years, and then, in 1854, became its pas- 
tor. At a very early period his great grand parents emigrated 
from Germany to Pennsylvania, where they stopped only a few 

4IO History of Kentucky Baptists. 

months, and then descended the Ohio river in a flatboat, aiming 
to land at Beargrass, the present site of Louisville, Ky. But on ar- 
riving at that point, they discovered Indians on the shore. Pull- 
ing out, to avoid danger, they floated over the Falls, and con- 
tinued their journey to the Yellow Banks, the present site of 
Owensboro'. Here the young German couple buried all their 
possessions, which they could not carry with them, and walked 
28 miles, to a little fort, near the present location of Hartford. 
In this little fort, their first child was born. This child was the 
grandfather of J. S. Coleman. They remained in. the fort, till 
this child was about three years old, and then moved to the spot 
where the village of Beaver Dam is located, on the Elizabeth- 
town and Paducah Rail Road. An account of the self-baptism 
of Mrs. Coleman was given in the history of Beaver Dam 
church. At this place, the little boy which was born in the 
fort, became the father of 23 children, all born of one mother. 
Ofthese, Elisha H. Coleman, born January 5, 1805, was the 

J. S. Coleman, only child of Elisha H. and Susannah Cole- 
man, was born in Ohio county, Ky., February 5, 1827. His 
father was of German, and his mother of Irish and Welsh extrac- 
tion. His parents were in good circumstances, and gave him 
what was then regarded a good opportunity to get an educa- 
tion, viz. he labored on the farm during the summer, and went 
to school during the winter. When he grew up, he taught 
school, and attended school, alternately, till he acquired a fair 
English education, and probably some knowledge of some of 
the dead languages. 

In the eleventh year of his age, he was suddenly awakened 
to a vivid sense of his sinful and ruined estate, before God, by 
reading the following stanza of a then popular old hymn: 

"That awful day will surely come ; 

The appointed hour makes haste, 
When I must stand before my Judge 

And pass the solemn test." 

Without any religious instruction, save that which he had 
previously received from his pious parents, he set about seek- 
ing the salvation of his soul. After seeking for sometime, he 
found peace in Jesus, and was afterwards baptized by Alfred 
Taylor. In his fifteenth year, he was strangely and power- 

James Smith Coleinan. 411 

fully impressed with a sense of duty to give his life to preach- 
ing the gospel. But thinking it impossible for one so ignorant 
as he deemed himself, ever to be able to engage in so holy and 
responsible a work, he strove to stifle his impressions, and suc- 
ceeded, for the time. At about the age of 20, he married 
Rachel Chapman, to whom, in after years, he acknowledges 
himself greatly indebted for what he has been enabled to ac- 
complish in the work of the ministry. 

Soon after he arrived at his majority, he was elected Sher- 
iff of his county. After this he was elected Brigadier General 
of his Congressional district, which, under the then existing 
military laws of the state, gave him considerable prominence in 
the district. The way to a seat in Congress seemed opening 
before him. His ambition was greatly kindled. But now his 
religious duties, which had been much neglected, for several 
years, began to press upon his mind with force. Meanwhile, 
his early impression of duty to preach the gospel returned 
with great power. He again strove to throw off these impress- 
ions. To the proud, ambitious young man, with such bright 
worldly prospects before him, the thought of the poverty, self- 
denial, and reproach, attending the life of a preacher, w'as al- 
most intolerable. The struggle was long and terrible, but the 
Spirit of God prevailed. "The strife went on," says he, " un- 
til humbled and subdued by God's grace, I at last submitted to 
be anything, or do anything, or, at least, to attempt anything 
that the Lord might require of me. This condition, and sub- 
mission, was reached late one Sabbath evening — perhaps the 
last in April, 1854 — while on my knees, far out in the deep 
forest, where I was wrestling with God, duty, and self" 

Mr. Coleman had already acquired considerable practice in 
public speaking, and, the following Sunday night, he com- 
menced his ministry, at Old Beaver Dam church. This was in 
May, 1854. He took charge of Beaver Dam, and perhaps 
other churches, the same year. Within one year, he so dis- 
posed of his worldly affairs as to be able to give his whole time 
to the work of the ministry, which he has done to the present 
time (1885). He was ordained, in October, 1854, by Alfred 
Taylor and J. F. Austin. He was very soon pastor of four 
churches. From the beginning, his success was extraordinary, 
not only in the churches of which he was pastor, but in many 

4 1 2 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

revival meetings, which he engaged in. He served Buck 
Creek church, McLean county, as pastor, 24 years, Beaver 
Dam, 18 years, Green Brier, 14 years, Sugar Grove, 12 years, 
West Point, 9 years, and several others, shorter periods of 
time. He has assisted in constituting 1 1 churches, and in or- 
daining 20 preachers. He was Moderator of the General As- 
sociation of Kentucky Baptists, from 1859, till 1872. He was 
editor and proprietor of the Green River Baptist, for a time 
during the war. He was also co-editor and part owner of the 
Westet7i Recorder, one year. He was State Evangelist, under 
appointment of the Board of the General Association two or 
three years. 

In 1877, he accepted a call to the First Baptist church in 
Owensboro'. During the first year of his pastorate there, 
250 were added to the church. Walnut Street church was con- 
stituted in that city the same year, and Mr. Coleman subse- 
quently became pastor of that organization. He is at present, 
pastor of some country churches near his birthplace. 

Between the time he was ordained, in October, 1854, and 
the first of January, 1879, ^^^ baptized 3,415* persons. About 
700 of these were from other denominations — mostly from the 
Methodists which were, next to the Baptists, most numerous in 
his part of the State. Among those he has baptized from the 
Methodists may be named W. Pope Yeaman now of St. Louis. 

Mr. Coleman has acquainted himself with the outlines of 
theology and religious literature, and is familiar with his text 
book; but he has studied men rather than books. He is much 
better acquainted with the human heart than with systematic 
theology. He has dilligently studied effectiveness, and few men 
ever studied it to more advantage. Whatever may be said of 
his want of elegance of style, few men in Kentucky have ever 
been able to draw and hold together, from year to year, larger 
congregations or more deeply interested audiences. He holds 
his religious convictions intensely, and is always ready to advo- 
cate and defend them. He has proved himself a skillful 
debater, but his best gift is that of a popular preacher. In this 
it would be difficult to point out his superior. But the best 
eulogium that can be passed on him as a preacher, is, that 

-To the present (1885), he has baptized over 4,000. 

JoJih M. Pcay. 413 

extraordinary success has attended his ministrations from first 
to last. 

John M. Peay, one of the most useful preachers in the 
Green River country, was for a short time pastor of Beaver Dam 
church. His ancestors were Baptists, two or three generations 
back, at least. William Keele, his maternal grandfather, was a 
Baptist minister, and was pastor of old Garrison church in Cof- 
fee county, Tenn., 56 years. 

Mr. Peay was born in Rutherford county, Tenn., May 
19th. 1832, In early life he moved to Butler county, Ky. 
There he was baptized into the fellowship of Sandy Creek 
church, by Alfred Taylor, in October, 1853. By this church 
he was licensed to preach, in 1854. He then spent three years 
in the study of J. S. Coleman, where he completed a very fair 
English education. He was ordained to the ministry at Beaver 
Dam church in September, 1857. The next year he moved to 
South Carrollton, on the south side of Green river, and took 
charge of the church in that town, to which he continued to 
minister till 1882, when he took charge of Bethel jchurch, in 
Christian county, where he now labors. He has usually sup- 
plied four pulpits with preaching. In addition to his ministerial 
labors, he conducted an educational journal, in connection with 
his brother, R. D. Peay, for some years. He has published 
several small works, some of which are written with decided 
ability. As a preacher, Mr. Peay would hardly be regarded an 
orator, yet his delivery is forcible and effective. He analyzes 
his subject with close discrimination, and few men more ,thor- 
oughly exhausts the matter in a text. He is a thorough Bap- 
tist, and, like Coleman, under whom he studied three years, and 
with whom he was intimately associated in the ministry twenty- 
four years, he is always ready to preach and defend his doctrines. 
He has proved himself a strong oral debater. In preaching tal- 
ent, and in point of success, both as a pastor and an evangelist, 
he ranks close to Alfred Taylor and J. S. Coleman. 

Of the thirteen churches constituted in 1798, eight still 
exist, but not more than three of them are exercising any con- 
siderable influence for good, the other five having fallen into the 
ranks of the Antimissionaries, and dwindled to almost insig- 




At the beginning of the year 1799, ^^^ Kentuckians were 
still in a state of considerable excitement. The convention 
which was to meet at Frankfort, on the 22d of July, for the pur- 
pose of forming anew constitution for the State, was to decide the 
vexed question as to whether the property of the people was to 
be made secure to them, or jeopardized by constitutional enact- 
ment. The election was to be held in the spring, when the 
political status of the convention would be measurably deter- 
mined. Popular meetings, were held, in February, in various 
parts of the State, some in favor of, and some in opposition to, 
the perpetuation of slavery by constitutional enactment. Henry 
Clay was the leader, or at least, orator of the anti-slavery party. 
A meeting was appointed in which each religious denomina- 
tion in the State was to be represented by two members, for the 
purpose of ascertaining the religious convictions of the people 
on the subject of slavery. The election, however, indicated that 
a large majority of the people favored the continuance of slavery 
in the commonwealth. The convention finished the work of 
forming a constitution on the 17th of August, and enacted that 
it should be in force on and after the first day of June, 1800. 

During the year, friendly intercourse was established be- 
tween the governments of the United States and France, by 
means of which a treaty, satisfactory to both countries was en- 
tered into the following year. All causes of popular agitation 
seems now to have been removed, and the commonwealth was 
in a condition to enjoy full peace. The spiritual dearth still con- 
tinued. The baptisms during the year may be fairly estimated 
at 175. The meetings of the associations evinced nothing of 
the spirit of enterprise or progress. Elkhorn had had under 


Flat Lick Clnirch. 415, 

consideration the propriety of having a catechism selected or 
prepared for the use of children, but this year the churches hav- 
ing expressed diverse opinions about the propriety ol it, the 
subject was dropped. An inquiry as to whether persons who 
had been excluded from the churches for embracing Universal- 
ism, might be restored without an utter renunciation of that 
heresy, was answered in the negative. The churches were ad- 
vised to be cautious about encouraging strange preachers who 
could not exhibit credentials and a fair character. Salem advised 
"the churches to be very cautious about restoring excommuni- 
cated ministers to their former standing." These cautions were 
probably provoked by South Kentucky Association of Separate 
Baptists having recommended the churches in her body to re- 
store such persons to membership as had been excluded for hold- 
ing the doctrine. of universal restoration. 

Bracken Association was constituted of eight churches, ag- 
gregating a membership of 539, on Saturday, the 28th of May, 
of this year (1799). Among these churches were Washington,. 
Stone Lick, Mayslick, Bracken and Lees Creek. There was 
still some fruits of the recent revfval being gathered into the 
churches of this little new fraternity. 

A few churches were constituted during the year in various- 
new settlements in the State. 

Flat Lick church is the oldest in Pulaski county. It is 
located ten miles north-east from Somerset, the county seat. It 
was constituted of nine members, on the fourth Saturday in 
January, 1799. Among its early members were Thomas Hans- 
ford, James Fears, Elijah Barnes, John James and Charles Wes- 
terman. The first three of these were preachers. The church 
united with Tates Creek Association, the same year it was 
constituted, at which time it numbered eighteen members. 
James Fears was chosen pastor. This was just at the beginning 
of the great revival. In one year. Flat Lick rose from twenty- 
one to 106 members, in 1801. But in consequence of its sending 
out colonies to form other churches in the surrounding country, 
it was reduced to forty-seven members, in 1806. In 18 12, it 
numbered seventy-four, but, in 1825, it had been again re- 
duced to fifty. From this time it had a healthful growth, un- 
der the pastoral care of Stephen Collier. At the time of his 
resignation, in 1843, the church numbered 173 members. It 

4i6 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

has since had some reverses, but has continued to be a leading 
church in Cumberland River Association, from the time it en- 
tered into the constitution of that fraternity, in 1809, to the 
present time. 

Of James Feats little else is now known than that he was in 
the constitution of Flat Lick church, and that he was its pastor 
a few years. Of Stephen Collier, the second pastor, something 
has already been said. 

Joseph Martin James, the third pastor of Flat Lick church 
was the son of Baptist parents. His father, John James, was 
in the constitution of Flat Lick church. He was a valuable 
church member, and lived to a good old age. He raised four 
sons and four daughters. Of the latter, Elizabeth was the first 
wife of the distinguished Jeremiah Vardeman. Of the sons, 
J. M. and Daniel became Baptist preachers. 

Joseph M. James was born in Culpeper county, Va., about 
1784. He came with his parents to Kentucky, about 1794, 
who first settled near Crab Orchard, in Lincoln county, but in 
1798, moved to Pulaski county. Here their son Joseph, grew 
up to manhood. He was illiterate in his youth, but having a 
strong, active mind, and great energy of character, he made con- 
siderable attainments in general knowledge. He professed 
faith in Christ about 1820, and was baptized into the fellowship 
of Flat Lick church by Elijah Barnes. He commenced exer- 
cising in public prayer and exhortation, soon after he joined the 
church. He improved rapidly in speaking, and was soon or- 
dained to the ministry. He became pastor of Somerset (formerly 
Sinking Creek), New Hope, Rock Lick, Mt. Olivet, and, at a 
later period, Flat Lick churches. For a number of years he was 
probably the ablest preacher in Cumberland River Association. 
But alas for the frailty of human nature! In his old age he 
yielded to the seductions of strong drink, and was disgraced. 
This led on further to the heinous crime of adultery. The poor 
old man became an outcast, and his sun went down in a dark 
cloud, about 1849. 

Daniel F. James, son of John James, was born in Lin- 
coln county, Ky,in 1795. He was carried by his parents to Pulaski 
county, where he joined Flat Lick church, in his youth. He 
was in the battle at New Orleans, January 8, 18 15. Some years 
;after this, he was ordained to the ministry. He was pastor of 

Robert McAlister. 417 

Double Springs church in Lincohi county, and some others. He 
was probably never the regular pastor of Flat Lick church, yet 
his labors for its prosperity, his constant, cheerful and devoted 
piety did much to build it up, and perhaps no member or pastor 
of this old fraternity, was ever more v/armly loved or highly 
respected by the whole community, than was this eminently 
godly man. He died, at his home in Pulaski county, Dec. i, 
1871. His oldest son, A. J. James, was many years a promi- 
nent lawyer in Frankfort, Ky. 

Robert McAlister succeeded J. M. James in the pastoral 
care of Flat Lick church. He was born in Rockbridge county, 
Va. , March 5th, 1782. His father, Joseph McAlistei , was a 
tailor by trade, and was of Irish extraction. He moved with 
his family to Lincoln county, Kentucky, about 1790. There 
the old revolutionary soldier — for such he was — added farming 
to the occupation of a tailor. He ploughed his little field in 
spring and summer, and made clothing of buckskin for the set- 
tlers in the fall and winter, occasionally varying his occupation 
by engaging in Indian fighting. After living a few years in 
Lincoln, he moved to Pulaski county. He was a Presbyterian, 
and lived to a good old age. He raised six sons and one daugh- 
ter. The latter became the wife of the talented, but erratic 
Joseph Martin James, and mother of that eminently Godly min- 
ister John James, so well known among the Baptists of 

Robert McAlister was raised up in the wilds of the new 
country, with very little education. However, he learned to 
read and write, and made good use of these acquirements in 
after years, more especially in reading the word of God. At the 
age of twenty-four years he married Rachel McKenzie, the 
daughter of a widow. He, with his wife, was baptized into the 
fellowship of Rock Lick church in Pulaski county, by J. M. 
James, about the year 1823. Soon after this he moved his 
membership to Flat Lick, where he presently began to preach 
with great zeal. He was ordained by Joseph M. James and 
Stephen Collier, and was called to the care of New Hope, and 
afterwards to that of Flat Lick church. To these he preached 
till the Master called him up higher. He was a preacher ot 
moderate ability, but he used his talent well, and the Lord 
greatly blessed his labors. About 1 850, he had a light attack 

4.1 8. History of Kentucky Baptists. 

of flux, but riding to Somerset and back on a very warm day 
before he had fully recovered, he took a relapse and died in a 
few days. Mr. McAlister raised six daughters and five sons, 
all of whom became Baptists, except his son Martin G., who 
became a Campbellite preacher and died young of cholera. 

John James was the son of J. M. James, and was probably 
brought into~the ministry at Flat Lick church. Of this church 
of his fathers, he was pastor after the death of Robert McAlister. 
Afterwards, he moved to Columbia, in Adair county, and was 
many years pastor of the church in that village. About 1872, 
he moved into the bounds of Liberty Association, and preached 
several years to some country churches in Hart and Barren 
counties. From there he moved to Paris, Texas, where he 
remained, preaching to the church in that village two or three 
years. At present (1885) he is in the State of Missouri. Mr. 
James was educated, it is believed, at Georgetown College. He 
is well versed in the sacred scriptures, and is familiar with New 
Testament Greek. He is peculiarly devoted to his holy cal- 
ling ; all his powers seem to be perpetually absorbed in the 
great work of preaching the gospel. He is an excellent preacher 
and a man of spotless purity of character. 

Somerset church, (originally called Sinking Creek) is 
located in the town from which it derives its present name, in 
Pulaski county. It was the second church organized in that 
large county, and was constituted of twenty-one members by 
Isaac Newland, Peter Woods, Henry Brooks and John Turner, 
June 8th, 1798. It united with Tates Creek Association the 
following October, when it reported twenty-eight members. 
During the revival of 1801, it enjoyed a precious season, and 
its membership increased to one hundred. Thomas Hansford 
was its first pastor, and under his ministry it enjoyed peace and 
prosperity. In 1812 it numbered one hundred and nine mem- 
bers, and in 1823, one hundred and sixty-five. It entered into 
the constitution of Cumberland River Association in 1809, and 
remained a member of that body till after the formation of South 
Kentucky Association of United Baptists. It united with that 
body some years past. About 1850 this church divided on the 
subject of benevolent societies. Those opposing such organi- 
zations formed Pitman's Creek church, in the same county. The 
affair finally got into the Cumberland River Association, and 

Thomas Hansford. 419 

iivided that old fraternity. From this resulted Cumberland 
[liver Association, No. 2, of Antimissionary baptists in 1861. 

In 1879, Somerset church numbered one hundred mem- 
bers. It now has nearly completed a good brick house of wor- 
ihip. Green Clay Smith was its pastor in 1882. 

Thomas Hansford, the first pastor of this church, was an 
;arly settler in Pulaski county. He went into the constitution 
3f Flat Lick church the 4th Saturday in January, 1799. On 
the 8th of June of the same year he went into the constitution 
of Sinking Creek, and became its pastor. After remaining in 
this position a number of years, he moved to Wayne county, 
and became pastor of the church of Monticello. In his old age 
he imagined himself slighted and neglected by some of the 
younger brethren in this church. Earnest efforts were made to 
remove his grievances, but all in vain. He still insisted that he 
was illy treated, and, as a dernier resort to obtain satisfaction, 
joined the Campbellites. He was a plain, illiterate old preacher 
of excellent character. Among the early settlers of Pulaski and 
the southern part of Lincoln county he was held in high esteem, 
and accomplished much good in laying the foundation of the 
early churches of that region. Under his preaching, the famous 
Jeremiah Vardeman was reclaimed from his backsliding, and 
brought into the ministry. He was the first moderator of Cum- 
berland River Association, and filled that position several years 
at a later period. 

Daniel Buckner was the most distinguished pastor of 
Somerset church during its early history. He was the son of 
Henry Buckner, and was born in Lawrence district, S. C, 
September 30th, 1801. In 1807, he was brought by his parents 
to Cocke county, East Tennessee. Here he grew up on a farm. 
He professed conversion in his fifteenth year, and walked twelve 
miles to join Lick Creek Baptist church, when he was baptized 
by Caleb Witt. Soon afterwards, he joined Big Pigeon church 
in the same county. In 18 18, he married Mary Hampton. He 
was licensed to exercise a gift in 1823, and was ordained to the 
ministry, at Chestua church, in Monroe county, by George Sni- 
der and James D. Sewell in 1827. While laboring with Chestua 
church that year, there was a continual revival, and a large 
number was baptized. He was the first Baptist that preached 
in Madisonville, the county seat of Monroe. Here he, with the 

420 History of Ketitiicky Baptists. 

help of George Snider, constituted a church, to which he min- 
istered seven years. The first protracted meeting he held 
there, twenty-five were added to the church by baptism. Of 
these, five became preachers, among whom were Bradley Kim- 
brough, Samuel Henderson, since editor of the SotitJi-western 
Baptist in Alabama, and Henry F. Buckner, long missionary to 
the Creek Indians. 

Mr. Buckner also gathered Ebenezer church soon after that 
of Madisonville, and in the same county, and was pastor of it 
seven years. He preached to the church at Jellico Plain, in 
Monroe county, several years. About 183 1, he accepted a call 
to Zion Hill church, in McMinn county. This church bought 
him a fine horse and a small farm. For the latter they paid 
$Af)0. At Zion Hill he baptized about one hundred the first 
year. From this place he went to Big Spring church on Mouse 
creek. D. D. Gate says, in Borum's Sketches: "About this 
time he received an appointment by the State Baptist Conven- 
tion to travel in East Tennessee as missionary and agent at $15 
per month. His first appointment kept him from home two and 
a half months. Such was the opposition to the enterprise at 
that time, that some would not allow him to preach in the 
church, and he was compelled to preach in the grove, school 
house or family room. But seldom could he get a brother to 
take the hat around for collection. In that event, he did it 
himself. He was the first to introduce the missionary leaven in 
seventeen counties in East Tennessee." 

Soon after his return from his first trip, the church at Big 
Spring preferred a charge againsf him for joining the State 
Baptist Convention, and [on his] refusing to withdraw, excluded 
him. The Sweetwater (anti-missionary) Association, at the 
request of this church, published him in their minutes for with- 
holding his credentials. He applied to the church for a copy 
of the charge, presented it to Conesauga church, and was 
received on it as if a letter of dismission. 

After this, he moved to Washington county, and preached 
with excellent success about eighteen months. From here he 
moved to Cleveland in Bradley county. He and his brother. 
Burrow Buckner, constituted the church at this place. 

In 1839, he accepted a call to the Somerset church in Pu- 
laski county, Kentucky. To this point he moved and served 

Daniel Biicknc7\ 421 

Lhis church fifteen years, during which he baptized into its fel- 
lowship two hundred and fifty persons. He was, during the 
5ame time, pastor of other .churches in the country. About 
1855, he mov^ed near Perryville in Boyle county, when he took 
:harge of the church in that village and some country churches. 
He was w^ell sustained here for about six years, which he 
regarded the happiest period of his life. But his youngest son, 
Robert C. Buckner, had moved to Texas, and the parents could 
not feel happy in his absence. Having resigned his charges, he 
started to join his son in the far West. In the summer of 1861, 
in the 60th year of his age, he put his family in a wagon, which 
he himself drove and started on a journey of 900 miles. When 
within 36 miles of his destination, his wife became too sick to 
travel. On the ninth day of her illness, and on the 60th anni- 
versary of his birth, she passed away from earth. Soon after 
his arrival in Texas, he accepted a call to the church at Boston 
in Bowie county. Here he remained about four years, and 
baptized about one hundred persons. In 1865, he married a 
second wife and moved to Paris, in Lamar county, where he re- 
sided till a short time before his recent death, at the house of 
his son, Rev. R. C. Buckner, in Dallas, Texas. 

Mr. Buckner w-as a successful revivalist. During his min- 
istry, he baptized more than two thousand five hundred persons, 
twenty-five of whom became preachers. Two of his sons, 
Henry F. Buckner, missionary to the Creek Indians, and Rob- 
ert C. Buckner, editor of the Baptist Herald, Texas, are distin- 
guished ministers. A. J. Holt, missionary to the wild tribes of 
Indians, is a grandson of his. 

Four Mile church is located in Campbell county. Its his- 
tory is confused, like that of many others of the early churches, 
by the changing of its name, failing to have its location specified 
in the early associational record, and by there being a number 
of churches of the same name, in various parts of the State. In 
Manley's Annals, (a most valuable record), the name of a church 
printed "Russell's Creek" in one place, and "Ruperts Creek" 
in another, appears to have applied to the church since called 
Four Mile. It united with Elkhorn Association in 1799. -^^ 
this period, it numbered fifteen members. It appears to have 
united with Bracken Association the same fall, or the year fol- 
lowing. In 18 1 2, according to Benedict, it was a member of 

422 History of Kentticky Baptists. 

North Bend Association, had John Stephens for its preacher, 
and numbered fifty members. In 1827, it united with other 
churches in forming Campbell County Association. In 1843, it 
numbered ninety-two. In 1876, it was not represented in its 
association, but appeared to still have an existence. 

Elk Lick church is located in Scott county. It was con- 
stituted in 1799, and united with Elkhorn Association the same 
year. At this time it numbered six members. In 1801, it 
received twenty-nine by baptism, which brought its membership 
up to forty. In 1809, it entered into the constitution of Licking 
Association, at which time it numbered about thirty-three mem- 
bers. In 18 18, it enjoyed a refreshing from the Lord, when 
twenty-seven were baptized into its fellowship. This gave it a 
total membership of fifty-nine. This was its maximum. At two 
subsequent periods it reached the same number, the last in 1843. 
Since that time it has gradually declined. In 1876, it numbered 
thirty-nine members. That it belongs to Licking Association is 
sufficient evidence of its opposition to all benevolent societies. 

Fourteen Mile, (now Charleston) church, was received 
into Salem Association in 1799. It was, at first, located on a 
small stream called Fourteen Mile creek, in what was then Knox 
county in the Illinois grant, but now Clark county, Indiana. 
Although this church is not in Kentucky, it was planted and 
nurtured by Kentucky preachers, was a number of years con- 
nected with associations in that State, and may, therefore, have 
brief mention in the history of Kentucky Baptists. Besides, it 
was the first organization of the kind, established on the soil of 
the present great State of Indiana. 

It was constituted of two men and their wives, John and 
Sophia Fislar, and John and Cattern Pettit — by Isaac Edwards, 
November 22, 1798. William Kellar attended the first meeting 
of the church. In 1802, James Abbot was chosen its first pas- 
tor. Feet washing and communion were appointed for a sub- 
sequent meeting. But the brethren receiving ' ' considerable 
light on the 13th chapter of John," feet washing was deferred, 
and perhaps never attended to in that church. Mr. Abbot served 
the church, as pastor, from March till December, 1802, when 
he was excluded from its fellowship for "the heinous and 
abominable crime of falsehood. " In August, 1799, Henson 
Hobbs was received by letter, and, in the following September, 

Henson Hobbs. 423 

was chosen Elder. In 1803, the church moved its location, 
and changed its name to " Silver Creek." The same year, it 
entered into the constitution of Long Run Association (Ken- 
tucky), at which time it numbered 47 members. In July 1803, 
the church petitioned Plum Creek (now Buck Creek) church in 
Kentucky, to supply them with preaching, whereupon that 
church agreed to send William McCoy and George Waller to 
preach to them. In 18 12, Silver Creek church, with eight 
others, entered into the constitution of Silver Creek Associa- 
tion in its own State, after which it had no direct connection 
with Kentucky Baptists. Since that period, it has had various 
fortunes and misfortunes. For about thirty years, it was the 
largest and most flourishing church, of any kind, in Clark 
county. But, in 1829, a majority of the church was carried off 
by the Campbellite schism, and, in 1834, the remnant of the 
church was divided by Parkerism, the missionary party consist- 
ing only of five members. These persevered, and succeeded in 
building up again. The church is, at present, located in Char- 
leston, the county seat of Clark, and bears the name of that vil- 
lage. W. T. Gordon, late of Kentucky, was its pastor in 1881. 
Henson Hobbs began his ministry, as a licentiate, in Four- 
teen-Mile church. He was of a family of Hobbses that settled 
very early in Nelson county, Kentucky, and was born about 
1772. The place of his birth, or at what time he moved west, 
is not known. In 1799, he moved from Kentucky (as is sup- 
posed) to what is now Clark county, Indiana, and united with 
the church described above. Of this church he was appointed 
an Elder, in September of that year. He was there licensed to 
preach, August 30, 1800. For a time, he supplied this little 
church with preaching, then moved back to Kentucky, and 
settled near Long Run churcli, in Jefferson county. Of this 
church he became a member, and here he was ordained to the 
ministry, in 1802. During this year. South Long Run church 
was constituted, and Mr. Hobbs became its pastor, and served 
it about 19 years. He was also pastor of Cane and Back Run, 
and probably some other churches. He was the first Baptist 
preacher who filled regular appointments in Louisville. In this 
village he preached a considerable time, and constituted, of 22 
members, in 18 15, the first Baptist church planted there. Of 
this church he was pastor seven years. In 18 15, Long Run 

424 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Association organized a missionary board for the purpose of 
sending missionaries to preach "on our frontiers." Underan 
appointment of this board, Mr. Hobbs went to Missouri Terri- 
tory, and spent some months in preaching. He took with him 
a lad named John Holland, then a young professor, who after- 
wards became an able preacher. 

Henson Hobbs was one of the most active and useful 
preachers of his generation, in Long Run Association. The 
following extract from the Minutes of that body for 1821, 
shows the esteem in which he was held : " With sensations of 
sorrow, yet, we hope, with Chrstian resignation, we record the 
death of Brother Henson Hobbs, who departed this life on the 
14th day of August last, in the 49th year of his age. He was 
23 years a zealous and successful preacher, lived beloved and 
died lamented by an extensive circle of pious brethren and ac- 

Eddy Grove church was the oldest body of the kind in 
that portion of the State lying west of the Henderson and Nash- 
ville Rail Road. It was located in Caldwell county, and was 
constituted in 1799. Like the other early churches in southern 
Kentucky, it was probably a member successively of Mero 
District, Cumberland, and Red River Associations. In 181*2, it 
was a member of the latter, had Daniel Brown for its preacher, 
and numbered 137 members. Of the 36 churches (about half of 
which were in Tennessee) which composed Red River Associa- 
tion, at that period, and which aggregated a membership of 
2,382, only two were larger than Eddy Grove. There was an 
extensive revival in the Cumberland Valley this year. About 
900 were added to the churches of Red River Association, and 
a number of new churches were formed. It was thought ex- 
pedient to divide the Association. Accordingly the more 
western churches were embodied in a new fraternity, styled 
Little River Association. Eddy Grove became a member of 
this body. In 1825, the Association met with this church. At 
that time it numbered only 39 members, and had the Venerable 
James Rucker for its preacher. In 1827-8, it enjoyed a revival 
under the ministry of William Buckley, and its membership 
was increased to 51. But it again declined gradually, and, 
about 1833, its name disappears from all available records.* 

*For other particulars of this church, see history of Little River Association. 

James Riicker. 425 

James Rucker was quite an old man when he moved to 
Zaldwell county, and became a member of Eddy Grove church, 
^e was a preacher in Virginia during the period in which Bap- 
:ists suffered much for conscience' sake. What share he had in 
:hose persecutions is now unknown. Aftef filhng the pastoral 
office for a time in his native State, he moved to Woodford 
:ounty, Kentucky, about the year 17S5, and united with South 
Rlkhorn, the first church organized on the north side of Ken- 
;ucky river, and, at that time, under the pastoral care of Lewis 
Zraig. In the winter and spring of that year, he labored with 
[ohn Taylor, Lewis Craig, George Stokes Smith, and John 
Dupuy in the first religious revival that is known to have oc- 
rurred in Kentucky. About 40 persons were converted. In 
A.pril, according to John Taylor, Clear Creek church was con- 
stituted in Woodford county. This was the second church or- 
ganized on the north side of Kentucky river. This church, 
except for a short time near its beginning, had no pastor for 
Tiany years. Mr. Rucker, who was in the constitution, served 
t as a preacher, in conjunction with John Taylor, John Dupuy, 
R-ichard Cave and John Tanner, until about 1796. About this 
late, he and John Tanner, who had married his daughter, came 
;o the conclusion that the Baptists in Kentucky had become 
:orrupt in doctrine and discipline. Accordingly they withdrew 
irom Clear Creek, and constituted, often members, a "Re- 
formed Baptist church," on Salt river, in what is now Ander- 
son county. In about two years, this particularly ///;r 2i\'\di sound 
:hurch was rent to fragments by internal dissensions, and, like 
Jonah's gourd, came to naught. Mr. Rucker returned to Clear 
Creek church. But, being mortified by his failure, or having 
lost his influence in the church by inveighing against its doc- 
trine and practice, he moved to Caldwell county, and became a 
member of Eddy Grove church, not far from the beginning of 
the present century. Here the good and respectable old man 
lived to a great age. He probably died about the year 1828. 

Blue Spring church is located in Metcalf county, and was 
constituted in 1799. The original name of this church was 
"^lud Camp. Under this title it joined in the constitution of 
Green River Association, in 1800, and, in 1802, reported to 
that body a membership of 41. Henry Miller was a licensed 

preacher in this church, at that time. It was in this church 


426 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

that an attempt was made in 1801, to restore Robert Smith to 
the ministry. The effort probably failed. William Ratliff was 
the first pastor of this church, of which there is any ac- 
count. The served it till his death, which occurred not far 
from 181 5. He was succeeded by Daniel Shirley, who served 
till 1823, when he died. Ralph Petty succeeded him, and 
served the church, with much acceptance, many years. 

In 1845, this church divided on the subject of missions. 
The Anti-missionary party remained under the pastoral care of 
Mr. Petty, till his death, after which it wasted away and be- 
came extinct. The Missionary party, consisting of 32 members, 
united with Liberty Association. It has had a slow growth, 
and has continued to be a rather small church. In 1878, it 
numbered 57 members. 

Ralph Petty was the most distinguished of the early pas- 
tors of Blue Spring church. He was born in Virginia, Decem- 
ber 27, 1767. His parents moved to Ohio, and settled near 
Cincinnati. Here he was raised up, and, in young manhood, 
married Isabell, daughter of James McClure of Hamilton coun- 
ty, Ohio. Mr. McClure was afterwards killed by an Indian, 
while standing in his yard, in Bourbon county, Kentucky, 
where he had settled, after the marriage of his daughter to Mr. 
Petty. Mr. Petty also moved to Kentucky, and settled in 
Bourbon county. Here, during the great revival, in 1801, he 
obtained hope in Christ, and was baptized. 

In 1802, he moved to Barren county, and settled on Fal- 
len Timber creek. Here he united with Glovers Creek church, 
and, the following year, was ordained to the deaconship. He 
was licensed to exercise a public gift, February 3, 1804, and 
ordained to the full work of the ministry, March 3, 1805. He 
was called to the pastoral care of Glovers Creek, Mt. Pisgah, 
Dripping Spring, and Skaggs Creek churches, all in Barren 
county. Afterwards he gave up the care of Skaggs Creek 
church, and accepted that of Blue Spring, to the neighborhood 
ofwhichhehad moved, in 1823. 

Mr. Petty possessed medium preaching gifts, and was a 
mild, conservative man. He was of easy, pleasant address, and 
was a great lover of peace. He was a good pastor, and was 
much beloved by his people. Besides his long and faithful 
pastoral labors, he did much preaching among the poor and 

Ralph Petty. 427 

destitute, and, in the early part of his ministry, aided much in 
building up the Redeemer's cause. His co-laborers in the east- 
ern part of Green River Association were Stockton, Nuckols, 
Elkin, Lougan and others. 

During the great excitement in Green River Association, 
on the question of missions, Mr. Petty was chosen Moderator 
of that body, on account of his conservatism. The difficulties 
were happily adjusted, for the time. When the first split oc- 
curred in that body, in 1833, Mr. Petty remained with the 
Missionary party; but when the second split occurred, in 1838, 
he adhered to the Anti-missionaries. He was pastor of Blue 
Spring church when it excluded Thomas Edwards for joining a 
church that believed in " human societies." 

Mr. Petty became very corpulent in his old age, but con- 
tinued to preach till he was attacked by a flux of which he died, 
July 26, 185 1. He was speechless several days before his 

One of Mr. Petty's chief excellencies as a preacher, was 
his great simplicity, by which he made the most illiterate under- 
standhim. AndrcAV Nuckols said to him, on one occasion: "Bro. 
Petty, how is it that the people like your preaching so much, 
and think so little of mine, when we both preach the same doc- 
trine ?" "Because," replied Mr. Petty, "I cut mine up so 
that they can eat it, while you give them yours whole." 

Thomas Edwards was raised up to the ministry in Blue 
Spring church. He was born of Baptist parents, in the state of 
Virginia, September 27, 1787. He came with his parents to 
Woodford county, Kentucky, about 1791, and thence to what 
is now Metcalf county, about the year 1800. He professed re- 
ligion, in his twentieth year, under the preaching of William 
Ratliff, by whom he was baptized into the fellowship of Blue 
Spring church. 

In early life he was married to Katherine V., daughter of 
John Burks of Barren county. The fruits of this marriage were 
five sons and four daughters, all of whom lived to the years of 

Mr. Edwards received but a limited education in his youth, 
but haviug a thirst for knowledge, he applied his leisure to study 
so closely, that he acquired a very good reading. He was a 
good historian, and was especially familiar with the Old Testa- 

428 History of Kenhieky Baptists. 

ment. He possessed a clear judgment and sound piety, but 
his timidity kept him from attempting to exercise in pubHc, till 
he was near forty years old. He was ordained to the gospel 
ministry, at Blue Spring, by Ralph Petty and others, about the 
year 1830. He was called to the care of Three Springs church 
in Hart county. Soon after he entered upon his pastoral work, 
the second split occurred in Green River Association, and Lib- 
erty Association was formed of the Missionary party, in 1840. 
Blue Spring church remained with the old organization. Mr. 
Edwards, agreeing in faith with the new association, procured 
a letter of dismission from Blue Spring, and united with Three 
Springs, of which he was pastor. For this, a charge was brought 
against him in Blue Spring, and he was excluded " for joining a 
church that believes in human societies." Five years after- 
wards, Blue Springs church split, and the Missionary party 
united with Liberty Association. 

Besides Three Springs, Mr. Edwards was pastor of Little 
Barrern, New Liberty, East Fork and Rock Spring churches. 
The last named was gathered by his labors, and he was pastor, 
at the time of his death, of the last three named. He was a 
Strong, sound preacher, rather than a brilliant one. He preached 
much from the Old Testament, especially comparing the prophe- 
cies, concerning Christ, with their fulfillment. He was regarded 
an excellent pastor, and his churches were all prosperous, up 
to the time of bis death. He died of pneumonia, after an illnesss 
of twelve days, March 27, 1847. ^^^ confidence was unshaken 
as he neared the cold stream. In answer to the inquiry of his 
friends concerning his prospects, he calmly replied that his ar- 
rangements had long been fixed. 

Nathaniel Gorin Terry is prominent among several ex- 
cellent preachers who have been pastors of Blue Spring church, 
in later years. He is now a little past middle life, and has 
preached in the locality in which he was born, and to the peo- 
ple among whom he grew up, during his entire ministry; and 
yet it is probable that no minister was ever more beloved or 
fully trusted by his people. He seems to be an exception to 
the rule, that a prophet is without honor in his own county. 

N. G. Terry is the son of Nathaniel Davis Terry, a native 
of Virginia. His mother was a Miss Gorin, of a family noted 
for intellectural vigor and active enterprise. He was born in 

Nathaniel Gorin Terry. 429 

Barren county, Kentucky, November 17, 1826. He finished 
his education at Centre college, in Danville, Kentucky, His 
early years were spent in teaching. He was, for a time, princi- 
pal of the Masonic Female College, at Glasgow, in his native 
county. He was married in early life to a Miss Stark, a de- 
scendant of an (51d French Huguenot family. Several children 
have blessed this union. 

Mr. Terry professed religion and was baptized into the fel- 
lowship of Salem church, in Barren county, in March, 1841. 
His preaching gifts were not recognized by his church till 1858. 
In August of that year, he was licensed to preach, and was or- 
dained to the ministry the following December. His improve- 
ment was so rapid, that within a few years, he took rank with 
the leading preachers in the Green River country. After 
preaching to Blue Spring, Dover and some other country 
churches three or four years, he accepted a call to the church at 
Glasgow. Here he ministered fourteen years, with extraordi- 
nary success. In 1875, the church at Glasgow enjoyed a most 
precious revival under his ministry. About sixty persons were 
added to the church, and among them a number of the promi- 
nent citizens of the county. 

In 1876, Mr. Terry resigned his charge at Glasgow, and 
moved to his farm in the country. Since that period he has di- 
vided his time among four country churches. He is at present 
(188 1) preaching to the churches at Cave City, Caverna, 
Rock Spring and Gilead. The latter is on the railroad in 
Hardin county, the others within a few miles of his home. He 
has been uniformly successful in his pastoral relations. He has 
been much engaged in protracted meetings, principally in his 
own region of the State, and has been abundantly successful. 
In October, 1865, he held an oral debate of five days continu- 
ance with T. C. Frogge, presiding elder in the Methodist church, 
on the action and subject of baptism; and, in October, 1868, 
he held a seven days' debate with Samuel A. Kelly, on the 
main differences between the Baptists and Campbellites. Both 
the debates were at Salem church, in Barren county. In both 
of these contests Mr. Terry proved himself a ready, skillful and 
able debater, and gave much satisfaction to his people. 

In 1865, Mr. Terry was elected moderator of Liberty As 
sociation, and has served in that capacity every year since, ex- 

430 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

cept when prevented from being present by sickness. He has 
been much hindered in his labors by an annual attack of sickness 
of a very distressing character, Avhich has followed him about six- 
teen years, and has frequently brought him seemingly nigh unto 
death. But with this serious hindrance he has baptized something 
over I, lOO persons and married about two hundred couples. 

He is a man of strong, clearly defined convictions, is a de- 
cided Baptist and preaches his sentiments without hesitancy or 
apology. He is a preacher of high order of ability, is easy, flu- 
ent and pointed in his address, and interests all grades of men 
as few preachers in the State can do. When his feelings are 
fully enlisted, his power in exhortation was seldom or never sur- 
passed in Kentucky. 

Christiansburg church is located in a small village from 
which it takes its name, on the Louisville and Frankfort railroad 
in the east end of Shelby county. It was constituted in 1799, 
and received into Salem Association the following year. It was 
at first, called Six Mile Creek. Afterward the name was con- 
tracted to Six Mile, and in 1836, exchanged for its present 
name. It entered into the constitution of Long Run Associa- 
tion in 1803. At this time it numbered 108 members. By whom 
it was gathered, or who was its first pastor, does not appear. 
Among its early members were John Gilmore, John Metcalf and 
Abraham Cook, all of whom were afterwards preachers, and it is 
probable that Metcalf was a preacher at that time. Among the 
prominent preachers who have served this church were Abra- 
ham Cook, Joshua Rucker, W. W. Ford and Thomas M. Dan- 
iel. This church has been a large and prosperous fraternity from 
the time of the great revival, which began about a year after its 
constitution, down to the present time, and is now one of the 
leading country churches of the State. It has enjoyed many 
precious revivals. From 1828 to 1835, it enjoyed a continual 
revival, during which 128 were baptized. In 1842-3 seventy- 
one were baptized. From 1847 to 1854, 106 were baptized. 
From that time ro 1877 the baptisms aggregated 170, and in the 
fall of 1880, sixty-nine were added to the church. This church 
reached a membership of 300 in 1849, ^^^ next year it dropped 
from its records eighty-four names and dismissed a number by 
letter, so that its membership was reduced to 200. In 1881, it 
numbered about 2zio. 

JosJiua Rucker. 43 1 

John Metcalf was very early, if not from its constitution,, 
a preacher in Christiansburg church. On the constitution of 
North Six Mile, about 18 18, he became a member of that fra- 
ternity. He remained a preacher in that church as late as 1834. 
He was a very moderate preacher. 

John Edwards was an excellent preacher. He was a mem- 
ber of Christiansburg church as early as 1803, and probably from 
its constitution. Not far from 1809, he moved to Woodford 
county, and became pastor of Griers Creek church. For a num- 
ber of years he was a very valuable minister in that portion of 
the State, but in the fall of 1826 he moved to Missouri. 

Joshua Rucker was an ordained preacher in Christians- 
burg church as early as 181 1. He was the son of the old pio- 
neer preacher, James Rucker, some account of whom has been 
given elsewhere. He was a native of Virginia, but came with 
his parents to Woodford county, Kentucky, in his early child- 
hood, in the W^inter of 1784-5. Here he was raised up, sur- 
rounded by the dangers and privations of frontier life. About 
the time his father moved to Caldwell* county, Kentucky, near 
the year 1800, he went back to the land of his birth. Where or 
when he united with a church, and was put into the ministry, 
does not appear. But after his marriage in his native State, he 
returned to Kentucky and settled near Christiansburg, in Shelby 
county, as early as 181 1. Here he preached with much accept- 
ance, till the fall of 18 14, when he came to his death from hanging. 
He was found dead, hanging by a rope around his neck, in his 
barn. It remains to the present time a matter of doubt as to 
whether he hung himself in a fit of mental aberration, or whether 
the dreadful deed was done by his servants, of whom he owned 
a number. Mr. Rucker was a man of high respectability, and as 
a christian, maintained a character of unsuspected piety and 
devotion to the cause of his Master ; as a preacher he was bril- 
liant and popular. The tragical manner of his death threw a 
deep gloom over the community. Thomas Vandiver, a weak 
preacher of Henry county, remarked, in a sermon at Newcastle 
soon after the tragic event, that he would as soon have heard of 
the defeat of Jackson's army, which v/as then facing the British 
forces at New Orleans as to have heard of the death of Mr. 
Rucker in such a manner. He expressed deep regret tor the 
loss of a cherished brother ; but the people who had friends in 

432 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Jackson's army were so much incensed, that Mi. Vandiver 
thought it prudent to leave the country to avoid the fury of 
a mob. 

Abraham Cook was one of the early pastors of Christians- 
burg church. A sketch of his life will carry the reader back to 
the earliest religious operations in Franklin county, as well as to 
the horrid scenes of Indian warfare. 

Abraham Cook was born of pious Baptist parents, in 
Franklin county, Virginia, July 6th, 1774. In 1780, his parents 
moved to the Avilderness of Kentucky, and joined some half doz- 
en families in forming a settlement at the Forks of Elkhorn, in 
what is now Franklin county. Here the father died only a few 
months after his arrival in the new country, and left the mother 
with a large family to struggle with the pinchings of poverty, 
and the hourly dangers of frontier life. When the settlers had 
increased to the number of seventy-five or one hundred souls, 
they began to feel the need of a preacher among them. Ac- 
cordingly, the leading citizens of the little colony held a council, 
and commissioned John Major, a pious old Baptist, to go to the 
settlement on South Elkhorn, and, on behalf of the settlers, 
tender William Hickman a hundred acres of land on condition 
that he would settle among them. He reached Mr. Hickman's 
cabin late at night. It was in December, 1787, and the weather 
was very cold. "When he came in," says Mr. Hickman, "on 
being asked to sit down, he replied : 'No, like Abraham's serv- 
ant, I will not sit down till I have told my errand.' He then 
told me what had brought him to see me, and gave me till the 
next morning to return him an answer. We passed a night of 
prayer. It was a night of deep thought with me, for I wished 
to do right." In February, 1788, Mr. Hickman moved among 
them, and in June following, constituted a small church called 
Forks of Elkhorn. A religious revival broke out in the settle- 
ment, and continued more than a year. "I think in the course 
of the year," says Mr. Hickman, "I must have baptized forty 
or fifty. I baptized nine of old sister Cook's children, and 
among the rest, that well known Abraham, now the minister of 
Indian Fork church, in Shelby county." 

This devoted christian mother's heart must have overflowed 
with joy, at seeing so many of her loved ones embrace her Sav- 
ior. But an overwhelming flood of sorrow awaited her in the 

Abraham Cook. 433 

near future. About Christmas, in the year 1791, two of her 
sons, Hosea and Jesse, having married, and one of her daugh- 
ters having married Lewis Mastin, the three young famihes, 
together with three or four others, settled three miles lower 
down on Elkhorn, in what was called Innis' Bottom. Here they 
remained undisturbed more than a year. But on the 28th of 
April, 1792, the settlement was attacked at three different points, 
almost simultaneously, by about one hundred Indians. The two 
Cooks were shearing sheep. At the first fire of the Indians, 
one of them fell dead, and the other was mortally wounded. 
The wounded man ran to the cabin, got his and his brother's 
wife, and their two infants, and a black child into the house, 
barred the door, and fell dead. The two Mrs. Cooks were now 
left to defend themselves and their babes against the bloodthirsty 
savages. They had a rifle in the house, but could find no 
bullets. One of them finding a musket ball, bit it in two witli 
her teeth, rammed one piece down the rifle, and, putting the 
gun through a small aperture in the wall, fired it at an Indian 
who was sitting on a log near the cabin. At the crack of the 
rifle he sprang high in the air and fell dead. The Indians tried 
to break the door open ; failing in this, they fired several balls 
against it. But it was made of thick puncheons, and the balls 
would not penetrate it. As a last resort, they sprang on top of 
the cabin and kindled a fire ; but one of the heroic women 
climed up in the loft and threw water on the fire till she put it 
out. Again the Indians fired the roof, and, this time, there was 
no water in the house. But when did a mothers courage or 
resources fail when the life of her babe was at stake ? Still 
remaining in the loft, though an Indian had shot down through 
the roof at her, she had called for the eggs which had been 
collected in the house. These she broke and threw on the fire 
till it was extinguished. Once more the baffled and infuriated 
savages kindled a fire on the cabin roof. This time there was 
neither water nor eggs. But another expedient was soon found. 
The jacket, thoroughly saturated with blood, was taken from the 
body of the murdered man, and thrown over the newl}' kindled 
fire. At this moment, a ball from the Indian's rifle passed 
through a hank of yarn near the woman's head, but did her no 
harm. The savages at last retired, and left the young mothers 
to weep over the bloody corpses of their husbands. Lewis 

434 History of Kentucky Baptists. 

Mastin was killed about the same time. The Indians were pur- 
sued, but they all escaped across the Ohio river, except the one 
killed by Mrs. Cook .and one other. 

Abraham Cook remained a member of Forks of Elkhorn, 
till 1796, when he married Sarah Jones and moved to the head 
of Six-Mile creek, in Shelby county. Here he entered into the 
constitution of Six-Mile (now Christiansburg) church, in 1799. 
For a period of twelve years, he dividedhis time between labor- 
ing on his farm and studying the Bible. During this period, he 
suffered many conflicts and sore temptations. He felt strongly 
impressed with the duty of preaching the gospel. But being 
poorly educated, and having a very humble opinion of his 
his natural gifts, he strove against the impression till his anguish 
became almost intolerable and, at last, he was compelled to 

In 1806, a church called Indian Fork was constituted near 
where he lived, and he became a member of it. Here he was 
licensed to exercise his gift, on the fourth Saturday in De- 
cember, 1808, and, on the fourth Sunday in September, 1809, 
was ordained to the work of the ministry, by William Hick- 
man, Jr., Thomas Wooldridge, and Philip Webber. He was 
now thirty-five years of age. He was over six feet high, very 
straight, rather spare, dark, swarthy complexion, large, dark 
brown eyes, and black hair. He possessed a strong constitution, 
and was very energetic. His bearing was dignified and com- 
manding, and his manners, gentle, affectionate and persuasive. 
His voice was clear, strong, and musical, (and could be heard at 
a great distance. His piety was of that sincere, frank and earnest 
type, that wins the respect of all, and the love of the godly. 

His preaching talent was above the mediocrity of his times, 
and he soon became very popular and influential. He was 
chosen pastor of Indian Fork, Six-Mile and Buffalo Lick 
churches, in Shelby county, and Mt. Carmel, in Franklin. Like 
most preachers of his times, he did, in addition to his pastoral 
labors, much preaching among the destitute, and very great suc- 
cess attended his labors. He supported his family by his labors 
on a farm, persistently refusing to receive any pay for preach- 
ing. He continued to labor, as pastor, with the churches that 
first called him, until the feebleness of old age admonished him 
to retire; and then left them all strong and prosperous. 

Alraham Cook. 435 

In 185 I, he sold his possessions, in Kentucky, and, with 
his wife and youngest daughter, moved to Missouri. His 
daughter took sick on the way, and died, a few days after they 
reached their new home. Nor did he, himself, have to wait 
long for the Master's summons. On the lOth of February, 1854, 
he passed out of the " mud-wall cottage," and went to join the 
saints and their Redeemer in the New Jerusalem. 

In doctrine, Mr. Cook was Calvinistic, and was very firm 
and decided in his principles, contending for them with earnest 
boldness ; but he regarded it his duty to warn sinners to repent 
and believe the gospel. He preached the doctrines of the gos- 
pel with clearness and force, and dwelt much on the operation 
of the Holy Spirit and experimental religion. In exhortation, 
he was fervent, eloquent, and very effective. Of his descen- 
dants, Joshua F. Cook, a grandson, is a graduate of George- 
town College, and is an able preacher and a distinguished edu- 
cator. He has been, for several years past, President of La